Ancient Graffiti and Emulation of Moche Religious Wall Paintings

Gabriella Wellons : History of Art

Mentor: Lisa Trever, History of Art

In the Moche culture of ancient Peru (ca. 250–850 CE), graffiti markings have been discovered on the mural walls of the Huaca de la Luna archaeological site, a former Moche religious center in the Moche Valley of Peru. On spontaneous occasions of ancient graffiti, incised figural forms often emulate pre-existing imageries on painted murals and sculpted reliefs. Gabriella is using reconstructive software for rendering high fidelity photographs of individual graffito into 3D photogrammetric models. This procedure is advantageous for graffiti incisions, which are difficult to visualize in their standard 2D representations. This research project extends beyond canonical studies of Moche visual culture in acknowledging the agency of the graffiti-makers, as well as the constraints under which these individuals created pictographic images.