Kilroy was Here

Voice Card  -  Volume 24  -  Larry Card Number 3  -  Tue, May 12, 1992 10:54 PM

A while back John wondered about the origin of "Kilroy was here." A recent "news of the weird" in this vein caught my attention:

The habit of certain tourists who write their names on rocks or trees or even walls is not an example of modern decadence. According to Werner Eck of the University of Cologne, it is a venerable tradition.

Carved into the the rock of the ancient Egyptian town of Abu Simbel, for example, are Greek grafitti dating from the 6th century B.C. According to a recently compiled catalog, 4,829 grafitti have been found on or near religious shrines in Egypt that drew tourists from the 3rd century B.C. to the late Roman era.

At a popular resting spot on the trail from Palestine to the Catherine Monastary in the Sinai peninsula, Eck reported, the rocks bear at least 263 inscriptions that are Greek, Latin, and Nabatean versions of "Kilroy was here."