Fame and Recognition in Historic and Contemporary Graffiti: Examples from New York City (US), Richmond Castle and Bristol (UK)

Emma Bryning, Charlie Kendall, Megan Leyland, Tyson Mitman, John Schofield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artists have been making their mark on the world for at least 70,000 years. Some of the best known examples of what is commonly referred to as cave art are from the Upper Palaeolithic in Europe, at sites which are popular tourist attractions, their visitors wondering at the motivations and ability of those responsible. In some ways, contemporary graffiti and street art are not so dissimilar: passers-by stopping to view art without ever seeing the artists at work, puzzled at their intentions. As in the caves, these more recent works have a sense of the mysterious, while bringing light and dynamism to otherwise mundane and unspectacular spaces, giving these spaces new meaning and adding value. In this paper, through a combination of historic and contemporary examples, we focus on ways that archaeological interpretation contributes to understanding the cultural significance of the interstitial places where these historic and contemporary artworks are often found and also, therefore, the marginalised people who typically inhabit them.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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