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Cerne Giant
County: Dorset
District: WEST DORSET
Parish: CERNE ABBAS
Monument Number: ( ST 60 SE 39 )
ROMAN   HILL FIGURE   -
MEDIEVAL   HILL FIGURE   -
POST MEDIEVAL   HILL FIGURE   1633 - 1667
POST MEDIEVAL   HILL FIGURE   1868 - 1868
POST MEDIEVAL   HILL FIGURE   1887 - 1887
20TH CENTURY   HILL FIGURE   1920 - 1920
Large turf-cut hill figure on Giant Hill, representing a naked male brandishing a club. Various anatomical features have been boldly depicted. There has been considerable debate over his origins, with most periods from Romano-British to Post Medieval suggested. There have been many suggestions regarding who the figure represents, it has been identified as Hercules and related to the second-century cult of Commodus. Another suggested identity for the figure is Nodons, a Celtic equivalent of Donar, a massively strong all-powerful figure worshipped by the Germanic tribes. A resistivity survey of the area was carried out in 1980 by Anthonty Clark of the Ancient Monuments Laboratory for the programme by Arthur C Clarke entitled `This Mysterious World'. When the anolomalies were plotted they revealed a feature that has been identified as a cloak or skin thrown over the giant's left arm, this has been used as further evidence to identify the figure as Hercules. There is a lack of documentary evidence for the site pre-dating the mid 16th century. The figure was renovated in 1868 and 1887, and was given to the National Trust in 1920 by the Pitt-Rivers Family.

Sources
Aerial photograph
AP (NMR 9785/16/63)
AntiquityAntiquity Publications Limited
LV Grinsell
AntiquityAntiquity Publications Limited
JH Bettey
Field Investigators Comments
F1 GB 07-JUL-77
Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
OS 6" 1962
The Archaeological JournalRoyal Archaeological Institute
AJ Clark
General Reference
National Trust Name plate
White horses and other hill figuresby Morris Marples
An inventory of the historical monuments in Dorset. Vol. I : westRoyal Commission on Historical Monuments, England
Gods and graven images: the chalk hill-figures of Britainby Paul Newman
Discovering hill figuresby Kate Bergamar