BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    In small scratches forgotten: perspectives on graffiti from Dura-Europos

    Baird, Jennifer (2018) In small scratches forgotten: perspectives on graffiti from Dura-Europos. Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 131 (1), pp. 17-33. ISSN 0040-7518.

    [img] Text
    19481.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript
    Restricted to Repository staff only

    Download (228kB) | Request a copy
    19481a.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

    Download (289kB) | Preview


    We need to rethink graffiti: they are not just words and images but places and things. Using the graffiti of Dura-Europos on the Syrian Euphrates, this paper will demonstrate some of the ways that the ‘unofficial’ urban texts of antiquity can, when studied in their spatial context as material objects, elucidate urban histories which rub against the grain of traditional studies. It will explore the ways such seemingly ephemeral marks can be active agents within the urban environment in public, religious, and private contexts. It argues for a new definition for graffiti related to context and immediacy. Graffiti, I contend, have the potential to give new perspectives on the ancient world: they are unmediated traces, stories of daily life, and through them it is possible to explore the ways the walls of the city could become active in people’s lives. At Dura, the small scratched messages of an otherwise historically voiceless people made on a plaster wall can be read almost two millennia later.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Graffiti, Dura-Europos, Arsacid archaeology, Roman archaeology, Syria
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Research Centres and Institutes: Photography Research Centre, History and Theory of
    Depositing User: Jennifer Baird
    Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2017 11:00
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:35


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item