Medieval graffiti of straw kings, pentagrams, crosses, ships and “demon traps” have been offering a tantalising glimpse into England’s past. What do the pictures reveal about life in the Middle Ages?
A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England.
Armed with just a torch and a camera, a team of volunteers have recorded more than 28,000 images from churches in Norfolk alone and are a third of the way through searching Norwich Cathedral, where there are many more examples.
Although the drawings discovered so far undoubtedly offer an insight into the minds of some - possibly bored - churchgoers in the Middle Ages, their precise meaning is not always clear. Read more.
Wild, windswept, rocky and remote, Astypalaia is not an obvious place for the unearthing of some of the world’s earliest erotic graffiti.
Certainly, Dr Andreas Vlachopoulos, a specialist in prehistoric archaeology, didn’t think so when he began fieldwork on the Aegean island four years ago. Until he chanced upon a couple of racy inscriptions and large phalluses carved into Astypalaia’s rocky peninsula at Vathy. The inscriptions, both dating to the fifth and sixth centuries BC, were “so monumental in scale” – and so tantalisingly clear – he was left in no doubt of the motivation behind the artworks.
"They were what I would call triumphant inscriptions," said the Princeton-trained professor who found them while introducing students to the ancient island world of the Aegean. "They claimed their own space in large letters that not only expressed sexual desire but talked about the act of sex itself," he told the Guardian. "And that is very, very rare." Read more.
Graffiti is easy to spot in every Australian city but archaeologists are viewing it with fresh eyes.
From convicts to drovers, to today’s street artists, graffiti has a long history in Australia and archaeologists are only starting to study it as a continuous body of work.
Australians have been etching their thoughts on walls since Indigenous people began drawing on rocks and caves.
Archaeologist Ursula Frederick, from the Australian National University, is one of a group of archaeologists collecting the evidence. Read more.
One of Churchill County’s most prized attractions was recently struck by vandals, according to a press release from the Bureau of Land Management.
The suspects littered Hidden Cave with graffiti and the information kiosk was riddled with bullets, according to the BLM’s press release. Graffiti was also observed on several rocks on the trail leading to the cave.
As a result, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for vandalizing the popular spot, east of Fallon. Read more.
Archaeologists believe that markings scratched into the walls of a Scottish castle could be 700 years old.
A team carrying out preservation work at Mingary Castle, on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, discovered the “graffiti” on plastered walls of the chapel.
Some of the simple markings are thought to represent a ship and the first letter of someone’s name.
The archaeological team believes the markings may date from when the chapel was first built, between 1265 and 1295.
Local historian Jon Haylett, who lives in the nearby village of Kilchoan, said the markings had been found by architectural consultant Tom Addyman and his team. Read more.
The graffiti ‘Ding Jinhao was here’ can be removed without damaging the ancient stone relief, Egyptian officials say
A 15-year-old Chinese tourist has caused an international outcry after a picture of his graffiti on a wall of the ancient Luxor Temple was shared on Chinese social networks.
The message “Ding Jinhao was here” scrawled over a carved scene on the temple wall depicting Alexander the Great was photographed by a group of Chinese tourists, who according to Chinese blogs failed in attempts to remove the marks.
According to AFP, Jinhao was subsequently targeted by Chinese hackers, and his parents issued an apology to Egyptians and to the Chinese, saying that their son had “cried all night.” Read more.
The daily lives of medieval townsfolk have been brought to light by an extraordinary haul of graffiti found in Norwich Cathedral.
Messages have been scratched into the walls of the historic buildings over hundreds of years, but few people have ever stopped to work out what they say.
Archaeologists have now started a major project to decipher the extraordinary messages, and have found a mixture of musical pieces, pious exhortations and even supernatural curses.
While most church-goers these days would never even contemplate defacing the walls of a Norman cathedral with graffiti, medieval residents of Norfolk had a far less protective attitude to their monuments. Read more.
A facelift of the Colosseum in Rome that began last fall has revealed centuries of graffiti. Removing the accumulated grime and calcification, experts discovered layers of inscriptions on the section of a wall seen here—designs in red and faded gray from antiquity, and lettering in black left by visitors in modern times.
Built in the first century, the Colosseum may have held crowds as large as 50,000 people. Its numbered entrances and covered passages were designed to get spectators in and out quickly and to separate the high and mighty from the hoi polloi.
The wall in this picture flanked a passage that led to an upper tier. There, women, children, and slaves perched in the cheap seats to watch the bloody spectacle of gladiators and wild beasts battling for their lives on the arena floor 60 feet (18 meters) below. Read more.