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The Age of England's Cerne Abbas Giant Has Been Confirmed, Dates Back to Saxon Period

Image credits: England National Trust.

Image credits: England National Trust.

A team of archeologists got together to unearth the origins of the giant sculpture.

Besides the Stonehenge, and its mysterious moors, England also houses the Cerne Giant, the large chalk hill figure of a naked man. And now it seems scientists have finally figured out how the 180 feet tall man was drawn on the vast fields of rural Dorset. A team of archaeologists got together to unearth the origins of the giant sculpture. They conducted a sediment analysis which helped in finding out when the giant was actually etched on the fields of English hills. Well, it seems this was done in the late Saxon period. The analysis was jointly funded by the National Trust, the University of Gloucestershire, Allen Environmental Archaeology and the Pratt Bequest, National Trust archaeologists. According to a press release by the University of Gloucestershire, the material taken from the deepest layer of the sculpture yielded a date range of 700-1100 AD which suggests that the giant was first made by late Saxons.

Speaking to the University of Gloucestershire, National Trust senior archaeologist Martin Papworth said that the archaeology on the hillside was surprisingly deep and their studies have shown how people have been chalking the giant since it was discovered. Archaeologists found the deepest sample from his elbows and feet that indicated that the sculpture could not have been made before 700AD. Martin said that this rules out theories that the giant is of prehistoric or Roman origin.

Studying simultaneous historical records written during the same time and later, scientists have also found that the giant was ignored and forgotten for a brief period in history before it was rediscovered.

Martin postulates that maybe the Cerne Giant was created very early on in the late Saxon period, but then was grassed over and was forgotten. However, at some stage, in low sunlight, people saw that figure on the hill and decided to unearth him again. He said that this would explain why he does not appear in the abbey records or in Tudor surveys in the seventeenth century.

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first published:May 18, 2021, 16:39 IST