In Britain, researchers believe that they are finally able to date the mysterious gigantic chalk figure at Cerne Abbas . The Cerne Abbas Giant has intrigued people for at least a century as its origins became uncertain and lost through time. Now based on an examination of snail shells at the site, experts believe that the giant is not as ancient as once thought and indeed may be an example of 17 th century political propaganda.
The Cerne Abbas Giant is 150-feet-tall (50 meter) chalk figure that was cut into an English chalk hill. It can be seen on a hillside overlooking the village of Cerne Abbas, in Dorset. This figure is of a naked man, wielding a club and it was widely believed to date back to the Roman or Celtic period , at least 2000 years ago. In 2019, the gigantic figure was restored by a team of volunteers who hammered tons of new chalk into the giant’s outline. The land where the Cerne Abbas Giant lies was given to the National Trust , an organization dedicated to preserving British heritage sites, a century ago, by the Pitts-Rivers family.
Dating the Cerne Abbas Giant With Soil Samples and Snails
To mark the centenary of the transfer of the Cerne Abbas Giant to the management of the National Trust, authorities decided to date the figure. In March 2020 a series of tests were carried out to determine ‘‘a ‘date-range’ for when the landmark was created’’ reports the BBC. Similar tests on another famous gigantic chalk figure, known as the Uffington White Horse , in Oxfordshire, revealed it to be 3000 years old.
Medieval Snails Suggest Cerne Abbas Giant is Not That Old!
The Daily Mail quotes Michael Allen, an environmental archaeologist, as stating that the ‘snails including the tiny vineyard snail or ‘Cernuella virgata’ that were found in the soil samples taken from the giant did not reach England until the late medieval period. This means that the figure could not date to ancient times. Dr Allen is quoted by the BBC as saying that ‘They arrived here accidentally, probably in straw and hay used as packing for goods from the continent’ in the Middle Ages. This most likely occurred in the 12 th or the 13 th century AD.
This finding contradicts previous theories and local folklore. Some experts believe that the giant figure was a Celtic deity because the ‘giant is stylistically similar to a god found on a skillet handle in nearby Hod Hill that has been dated back to around 10–51 AD’ reports The Daily Mail . The fact that the figure is naked with an erect penis prompted many to believe that the giant was related to a fertility cult .
Cerne Abbas Giant as the God Hercules
Another theory was proposed by a local clergyman, William Stukeley, in the 18 th century AD. He believed the giant chalk figure was a depiction of Hercules, one of the most popular gods in the Graeco-Roman world. He argued that the giant was carved into the hill by local Romano-British people in the first century AD.
www.Ancient-Origins.net – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past
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