15th century apprentices leave their marks on nunnery walls

A plaster wall in the former St. Katherina Church near Langerwehe, Germany, bears the pictographic signatures of 15th century workers during a building renovation. (photos)

Historians working on the 500-year-old graffiti in the abbey attic, which includes depictions of 42 different hammers and other carpentry tools, believes the drawings are the signatures of illiterate apprentices. “Only rarely does historic graffiti from handworkers survive, hence the plaster etchings are an especially precious and unique document of the everyday life and working world in the late Middle Ages,” said lead historian, Dr. Ulrike Heckner.