Sunday, January 29, 2012

Antique Graffiti

Here in our Virginia hotbed of Revolutionary and Civil War vestiges we often read about new archaeological finds. One restoration that caught my eye in view of my fascination with graffiti turns out to be called "Graffiti House" near Culpeper Virginia.

Someone's home was used as a field hospital for the Confederacy, later becoming a headquarters for Federal forces. Soldiers from both sides wrote and drew on the walls, creating a collection of over 200 individual pieces that covers the upstairs rooms from floor to ceiling.

Restorers are attempting to remove the paint and whitewash that subsequent owners used to try to cover up the markings. They also need to stabilize fragile plaster on the walls to preserve the installation of caricatures, messages, autographs and inside jokes.

More antique graffiti: did you know that 18th and 19th century boors messed up the Temple of Dendur?  You can visit it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. photo via Thiago Santos
Gladiator graffiti from the Colosseum in Rome. Sorry about the photo quality, it was very difficult to capture these images due to the low light in this area. Taken by my husband, as I was most probably overwhelmed with the energy lingering within the Colosseum walls, where so many humans and exotic animals lost their lives, all in the name of entertainment. At least the masses were fed with the spoils--rhinoceros, elephant and giraffe steaks were the order of the day.

To see more Roman graffiti, go here

Seal petroglyph near Sooke on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.


  1. I have to admit that I have never given graffiti through history much thought.. so this was a very fascinating post.

  2. Thank you both so much--I'm really glad you enjoyed this.

  3. Fascinating! I'm interested in this sort of thing, too, especially the much-older forms of graffiti. Like petroglyphs. Love those!

    Last year, when I was in Germany again for the first time in a long time, I was intrigued by all the colorful graffiti there. It is done mostly by professional graffiti artists. And, to my eyes, it fit in beautifully, especially with the decaying industrial settings around Berlin.

  4. Angela, I would so love to go to Berlin--it must be one of the best possible places for art and especially graffiti!