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Help Build a Database of Ancient Graffiti from Pompeii and Herculaneum

Hyperallergic – The Ancient Graffiti Project is now fundraising to conduct fieldwork of graffiti at Herculaneum this summer. “Since the 1800s, archaeologists have found several thousand examples of these notes at Pompeii, and hundreds at Herculaneum. They appear in public settings, left like latrinalia or tags, and even inside private houses. Scholars consider them an ancient form of graffiti, although these scrawls carried none of the stigma attached to contemporary scribbles and drawings. This graffiti served as an everyday form of communication and self-expression. Inscriptions have ranged from casual greetings (like a simple, “Hello to Primigenius!”) to cartoon-like drawings. The famous Herculaneum home known as the House of the Stags features several drawings of deer and columns that resemble the statues found in the house’s garden room…the Ancient Graffiti Project, a digital resource that is working to increase public access to graffiti from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Since 2013, an international team of scholars led by Rebecca R. Benefiel, associate professor of classics at Washington and Lee University, has been building the website as a platform to publish and catalog these inscriptions, complete with images and translations into English. (They focus on Latin and Greek graffiti.) Users can explore examples through a search engine and even browse them through interactive maps that show where graffiti appear…”

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