How do you spot and identify "historical" scratchings?

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How do you spot and identify "historical" scratchings?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 4, 2012 9:26 pm

I've decided to revisit several caves that have been long known by locals, just to look for old graffiti. I've found a ton of names and dates (1870 - 1990) carved in one. I'm wondering if there are any tricks to spotting and deciphering these old marks. I plan to clean some spraypaint from one cave, and I want to check it well before I scour anything potentially interesting.
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Re: How do you spot and identify "historical" scratchings?

Postby Chads93GT » Nov 4, 2012 10:26 pm

shine your light across the wall, from the side, not at it. Shining it across the wall will cast shadows. If there are any scratches you will find them. The same thign is applied to clay floors when looking for prehistoric foot prints from saber tooth tigers, extinct bears, sloths and other creatures who have long left the planet.
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Re: How do you spot and identify "historical" scratchings?

Postby Myrna Attaway » Nov 10, 2012 2:59 am

The more recent stuff will have a color contrast between the original surface and inside the scratch. The older stuff will have formed a patina that us the same color as the surface it is scratched into, so the only way to see it is with side lighting. In mammoth black light makes the old stuff stand out better. In some caves florescent works well, on some a tag light works best. You just have to experiment and itnis best to have someone experienced in looking for it take a visit.. Alan Creesler has had good luck.. So have Brian and Lynn Roebuck and John Hoffelt. If you are outside fo TAG i dont know who to recomend.
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Re: How do you spot and identify "historical" scratchings?

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Nov 13, 2012 11:15 pm

Well, as a rule-of-thumb, any dates earlier than 1492 are probably fakes. I have seen a few "C. Columbus - 1492", but have serious doubts as to their authenticity.

Removing spray paint is always tempting, but you need to look really, really carefully to see what is under it. You just might be destroying some really good historical graffitti in the process.

Drawings of Indians hunting Wolly Mammoths on horseback are also probably fakes.

Good luck !!!
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Re: How do you spot and identify "historical" scratchings?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 14, 2012 2:56 pm

Thanks Larry, does that mean my Daniel Boone 1766 is also illegitimate?

I normally wouldn't try to clean off spraypaint, but the cave in question is clean except for one glaring, enormous, orange peace sign and a set of initials.
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Re: How do you spot and identify "historical" scratchings?

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Nov 14, 2012 5:23 pm

Probably 30 years ago on TV, I saw a report where they had found a primitive, wooden lean-to inside a large, impressive cave entrance in Kentucky. On the side of the lean-to was scratched:

D. BOONE

Honest to God !!! It was sooooo neat. They said it was somehwere in Boone National Forest.

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