According to the Historical England site, the carvings were very likely made by Roman soldiers that worked in the quarry.
Phallic doodles are a part of our childhood. It's probably the first dirty joke we start drawing! Penis graffiti can be seen etched on public restrooms and bus stands, making a rather bold statement. It's been a much-favored standard pastime for many young adults, but these doodles have been drawn for years. A recent archeological discovery proved that penis doodles have been a silly pastime since time immemorial.
The interesting discovery was made by Historic England as well as archeologists from Newcastle University, who were working on a project to record a rare Roman quarry with inscriptions. The quarry, which is located in Gelt Forest, close to Brampton, is locally known as the 'written rock of Gelt'. According to the Historical England site, the carvings were very likely made by Roman soldiers that worked in the quarry.
This Phallus is a Roman symbol meaning 'good luck'— Historic England (@HistoricEngland) February 27, 2019
This graffiti from 207AD was discovered at a quarry near Hadrian's Wall quarry during recording work with archaeologists from @uniofNewcastle https://t.co/bmu8wMqCK0 pic.twitter.com/GdiuXyDwEp
The discovery of these doodles was made in the 18th century, but as the years passed by, the soft rock resulted in the gradual erosion of the soft sandstone into which the pictures were carved into. Before they are lost forever, archeologists from Newcastle University decided to make a record of the doodles. They were surprised to find a new doodle that made the internet chuckle. You see, the experts were excited to stumble across a doodle of a penis!
Quite a few Roman's in Middle school wishing good luck all over the building..— Earthling yoga (@rckwmn8) February 28, 2019
The phallic doodle is estimated to be dated at 207AD. The etching is one of many that were discovered in the quarry close to Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria. Interestingly, the phallic doodle is actually a Roman symbol to wish a person 'good luck'! But the interpretation could differ given the context because it has to be noted that ancient Romans also used to hold phallic symbols in high regard as they represented Priapus, a Greek god of fertility whose symbol was an exaggerated phallus.
But in the case of the cave drawings, Historic England explains that the inscriptions carry a distinctly human and personal story. Archeologists were able to uncover a carving that gave them an idea about what kind of soldiers worked at the quarry. The inscriptions are dated to be from 207AD, a time period during which Roman soldiers were tasked to repair and renew Hadrian's wall.
This one I took in Pompeii, it points towards the brothel. pic.twitter.com/XcEAxQGD6g— Nick with a Beagle (@NickAnderson27) February 28, 2019
There is also a doodle of a commanding officer that was discovered along with the phallic drawing. The pairing of the two doodles from a non-historian's point of view could be seen as petty officers making a mockery of their general. But in actuality, this was a Roman symbol of luck, meaning the petty officers working at the quarry might have just been wishing he commanding officer the best of luck.
Proving that there has never been a time in the history of humankind, that dudes weren't totally obsessed with their own junk.— PrairiePhlox (@PrairiePhlox) February 28, 2019
These doodles are now being recorded and stored by Newcastle University and Historic England so that they are preserved before time ages and deteriorates them any further. Access to the Written Rock of Gelt became difficult after the path to the site collapsed in the early 1980s. Archeologists decided to abseil down from the quarry to inspect the drawings more closely as well as scanning them to get a detailed record of the carvings.
So not much has changed in 1700 years...— Anthony John (@Anthony24440686) February 28, 2019
The discovery of the phallic doodles are significant to the history of the Roman empire, but more importantly, it proves that we have been drawing penis doodles on things for a very, very long time. Hopefully, the practice continues well into the future!