A medieval hunting forest in rural Essex has given up its secrets to a team of archaeologists this week after six caves, previously hidden for millennia by tree growth and fallen rock, unveiled an impressive collection of ancient drawings and ‘hilarious graffiti’.
The prehistoric doodles prove that man has enjoyed scribbling moustaches and novelty eye-patches on other people’s work for ‘thousands of years’.
One of the only remaining forests of its kind in the UK, the team of experts had initially arrived at the site with hopes of unearthing personal items left by King Henry VIII, who historians believe frequented the area throughout his 37-year reign.
‘We got more than we bargained for,’ said an excited Dr Tim Grogan from the National History Museum today. ‘Forget Henry, some of these drawings are over 4000-years-old. In addition to the artwork, some of the writing discovered is forcing us to reconsider well-established beliefs on the origins of modern language, such as ‘LOL’ and ‘FFS’. It appears these acronyms were popular well before the age of iPads and Facebook.’
Dr Grogan continued: ‘One drawing, that was intricately carved into limestone with some kind of primitive tool, appears to depict an unfortunate hunter named ‘Gollof’, throwing his spear at a large boar and wildly missing. A hastily drawn speech bubble hangs above his head and reads; “FFS!”. The scene is captioned with: ‘fearless man hunter, Gollof. LOL, JK! Vegetarian!’ ‘It seems this Gollof character could possibly be the earliest known victim of anonymous bullying.’
Although the most exciting discovery of all, confirmed the team, was a cave that took three-days to dig out, and is now said to be the first art gallery in history. Prof. Denis Chadwick, who assisted with the dig, said: ‘it’s beautiful. Each cave wall is adorned with cryptic symbols and eerie scenes of early hunters plying their trade in the woodland, frozen in time. Perhaps most interesting of all; each character carefully immortalised in the rock was defaced just a few years later with giant fake moustaches, large noses and crazy hair. Some of them had giant penises protruding from their foreheads. These additions, although probably unwelcome at the time, are the work of the world’s first graffiti artist.’
‘We’ve all done it’, added Professor Chadwick. ‘I remember writing ‘Ned is gay’ in Tipp-ex on my desk during a Geography lesson back in about 1986. It may seem childish and offensive, but it’s just something young men do. Eventually you just grow out of it.’
‘Ned was definitely gay, though. He probably still is,’ he added.