Cerne Giant

The Cerne Abbas Giant is a hill figure near the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England. 55 metres (180 ft) high, it depicts a standing nude male with a prominent erection and wielding a large club in its right hand. Like many other hill figures it is outlined by shallow trenches cut in the turf and backfilled with chalk rubble. It is listed as a scheduled monument of England; the site is now owned by the National Trust.

The origin and age of the figure are unclear and there is archaeological evidence that parts of it have been lost, altered or added over time; the earliest written record dates to the late 17th century. Early antiquarians associated it, on little evidence, with a Saxon deity, while other scholars sought to identify it with a Romano-British figure of Hercules or some syncretisation of the two. The lack of earlier descriptions, along with information given to the 18th-century antiquarian John Hutchins, has led some scholars to conclude it dates from the 17th century, but recent optically stimulated luminescence testing has suggested an origin between the years 700 CE and 1110 CE, possibly close to the 10th century date of the founding of nearby Cerne Abbey.

Regardless of its age, the Cerne Abbas Giant has become an important part of local culture and folklore, which often associates it with fertility. It is one of England’s best-known hill figures and is a visitor attraction in the region.


Nice video Adrian! I nearly visited the place about 6 weeks ago, but had to decide between this and others. The history behind this is fascinating. NT archaeologists suggest that it was built some time after 700AD, but then grew over and forgotten until the medieval times. When it was then recut. Thanks for sharing :+1:

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