GRAFFITI everywhere

History of graffiti

history of graffiti

Graffiti has existed since man used an implement to carve on a rock

Graffiti carved into rocks has been preserved through the ages.

Painted rocks have only survived if afforded the protection from the elements in caves or underground.

Going back in history

Ancient graffiti is considered valuable because it tells us something about life and ancient civilisations.

Graffiti in ancient Saudi Arabia.

Visitors to Saudi Arabia can see what are called the Graffiti Rocks. These rocks have been carved with animals, weapons and people that show everyday life in their time. Some of these rocks date back to 6,000 years BC

Graffiti has always been there for as long as man had something to express. In ancient times people did not have access to paper, canvas and conventional art materials so they had to draw on the surfaces around them.

Ancient Egyptians, Romans and graffiti

Graffiti was known in ancient Egyptian and Roman times. Some of it was the equivalent of 'I woz here' or names or tags carved into walls although the Romans also used graffiti for other purposes.


The graffiti of Pompei was well preserved and demonstrates that man is no different today from the days of Pompei. The graffiti of Pompei covers all areas of life from personal comments, toilet humour, political statements.... the whole range. For example, 'Ampliatus Pedania is a thief!', or written on the door of a bar 'We two dear men, friends forever, were here. If you want to know our names, they are Gaius and Aulus', or 'Satura was here on September 3rd'.

Find out more about the use of graffiti in ancient times...

Graffiti alerts us to rising tensions in society

One of the first signs of rising tensions in a population is an increase in graffiti on that subject. This is where the saying the 'writing was on the wall' originated.

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