While for years it was widely believed that the Nude Cerne Abbas Giant is around 300 hundred years old, a new study suggests that it’s actually a lot older. The 2021 study was led by geoarchaeologist Mike Allen, founder of the Allen Environmental Archaeology in Codford, U.K.
The group of archaeological researchers studied the soil around the giant’s outline via a technique called “optically stimulated luminescence”. The technique enabled them identify and discover the last time the soil had been exposed to sunlight.
The researchers were able to establish that the chalk material existed as far nack as 650 to 1310 A.D., while the soil itself was in existence in around 700 to 1100 A.D. Approximately, the Cerne Abbas Giant came about during the late Saxon or early medieval period, around 410 to 1066 A.D. According to Allen, the discovery was unexpected since previous archaeological studies show there are no chalk figures that existed during the period. .
The Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset UK, also known as the “Rude Man”, is only one of thirty or so chalk geoglyphs found scattered across Southern England. Some of the other geoglyphs portray oversized images of birds, horses, war memorials and giants. Very little is known about these chalk geoglyphs and they remain mysteries to archaeologists. Yet they remain famous as tourist attractions.
About the Cerne Abbas Giant
The humongous artwork is a 180 ft. tall geoglyph that was created by removing the grass to reveal the white chalk making up the underground soil. As protection, trenches packed with more chalk were built nearby.
The giant geoglyph has become a fertility icon because of its 35 foot phallus’ along with the traditional belief that couples who copulate on the giant’s crotch will be successful in conceiving a child.
Despite the Allen group’s findings, the history of the Rude Mna geoglyph remains a mystery. Debates are still on whether the figure represents a Roman counterpart of Hercules, a lampoon of of Oliver Cromwel, a 17th century British politician; or an Iron Age fertility icon.