21 Jan 2010

Ancient Ghostsigns

Pompeii political ghostsign by Will Collin
Vote Titus. Pompeii. Photo: Will Collin

Are these the oldest ghost signs in the world? Will at Naked came back from a trip to Italy where he visited the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum which were covered in volcanic ash for around 1,700 years following the eruption of mount Vesuvius in 79AD. While he was there he took these three fascinating pictures showing letters and pictures painted on the walls.  This makes them the best part of 2,000 years old, assuming they were painted not long before the eruption.

The first picture is said to feature political slogans, showing that this type of advertising is nothing new. However, it is the second two that seem more related to our ‘contemporary’ ghost signs. These were showcasing some of the treats that could be found in the local brothels, perhaps the best fit in the forthcoming archive would be the ‘Hotels & Restaurants’ category.

I had heard of these wall paintings before and it is great to have now seen them as photographs. Thank you Will for sharing them, I will have to make the pilgrimage myself now…

Herculaneum Vinters Ghostsign by Will Collin
Red or white sir? Herculaneum. Photo: Will Collin
Pompeii Brothel by Will Collin
Serving suggestion Pompeii. Photo: Will Collin

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