By the same authors

Signs of the Times: Nineteenth - Twentieth Century Graffiti in the Farms of the Yorkshire Wolds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter



Publication details

Title of host publicationWild Signs: Graffiti in Archaeology and History
DatePublished - 2010
Number of pages12
PublisherArchaeopress and John and Erica Hedges Ltd
Place of PublicationOxford
EditorsJ Oliver, T Neal
VolumeBAR S2074, Studies in Contemporary and Historical Archaeology 6
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print)9781407306353

Publication series

NameStudies in Contemporary and Historical Archaeology
PublisherArchaeopress and John and Erica Hedges Ltd
VolumeBAR S2074


This paper is concerned with graffiti found in farm buildings on the Yorkshire Wolds, dating between the late nineteenth and late twentieth centuries. It uses an archaeological approach to explore the social and performative nature of these inscriptions, to analyse their content and character, and to consider the communities responsible for their creation. We argue that this was a vital medium of expression for a particular group of farm-workers – the horselads – and was part of the way in which they negotiated their status and identity during a period of great social upheaval and agricultural change (Giles and Giles 2007). We situate the making of these marks within the horselads’ seasonal rhythms of labour and broader patterns of inhabitation. Finally, we explore spatial and stratigraphic relationships associated with graffiti panels, to elucidate different groups within these communities, and analyse how they changed over time.

Bibliographical note

Reproduced with permission from Archaeopress.


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