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Kerbs and your enthusiasm

In June's Geoscientist, Peter Dolan introduced us to a mystery - the presence of letters and symbols engraved on kerbstones of different rock types across the nation. What do they mean?

Are they quarry marks? Delivery instructions? Pointers to local services? Clues to a Da Vinci code-style treasure hunt?

As part of Earth Science Week 2013, Geoscientist magazine would like to find out! If you live in a town or city and spot any mysterious markings, please send them in to us by emailing or tweeting a picture to @geoscientistmag using the hashtag #kerbsurvey.


So far, there are three main theories about what the marks relate to:

1. The quarryman, quarry or quarry company where the kerbstone came from.

2. The delivery process like the haulier, destination or intended customer.

3. Local information such as nearby or buried services or specific use of the adjoining highway.

But the bewildering array of kerbstone marks are irregularly distributed, occur on different rock types and are of variable quality. To date, there has been very little study of the markings, so your contributions will produce a database that might just solve the kerbstone conundrum!

What we need

First and foremost, send us your pictures!

To be included in the database, your find needs to include the following information:

  • Photograph (ideally looking down on kerbstone, with it angled across the field of view and including a yellow parking restriction line, if present – for scale).
  • Rock type
  • Date
  • Location (street name and close property number or proximity to a junction)
  • Weather Conditions (dry or wet)
  • Author (name of photographer).

How to identify the rock type

Nearly all kerbstones will be either igneous or sedimentary. Download our handy guide to kerbstone identification to find out which!

How to share your photo with us

There are lots of ways for you to send us your kerbstone pictures.


Watch out for lamp-posts, litter bins and carry a copy of Geoscientist with you to allay the fears of any curious police, traffic wardens or members of the public. Most importantly, STAY ON THE PAVEMENT!

....And if that 'Dan Brown' theory pans out, we promise all proceeds will go to a well known charity of our choice. (No 210161.)