Cerne Abbas Giant: Snails show chalk hill figure 'not prehistoric'. Snails have shown an ancient naked figure sculpted into a chalk hillside is unlikely to be prehistoric as hoped, archaeologists have said. Tests of soil samples extracted from Dorset's Cerne Abbas Giant to determine its exact age have been delayed by the coronavirus epidemic. They are not due until later in the year. However, land snail shells found in the samples suggest it may date to medieval times, separate tests have found.
Martin Papworth, senior archaeologist at the National Trust, and environmental archaeologist Mike Allen said two species of snail that appeared for the first time in Britain in the Roman period - thought to have been brought over from France as food - were not found at the site. However, microscopic species, found for the first time in the medieval period during the 13th and 14th Centuries, have been discovered in the samples. The National Trust project, in which soil was taken from the giant's elbows and feet, was carried out to celebrate its 100-year ownership of the site.
The figure has been unofficially altered several times before, most recently during the coronavirus pandemic when it was given a mask
the earliest surviving documents regarding the Cerne Giant dates only as far back as 1694, but some residents of the village, who remember local stories tell of a giant that was killed on the hill. They claim that the figure had been there "beyond the antiquity of man"
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