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

Kate Giles, Mel Giles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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

Publication series

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

Bibliographical note

Reproduced with permission from Archaeopress.

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