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Author Topic: Anglo Saxon date for Cerne Abbas giant  (Read 1537 times)


  • thegn
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Anglo Saxon date for Cerne Abbas giant
« on: May 12, 2021, 12:26:30 PM »
National Trust archaeologists surprised by likely age of Cerne Abbas Giant | National Trust

Oh dear, so those naughty late period Anglo Saxons supposedly converted to Christianity in the 600s were still Pagan 300 years later. Perish the thought! >:(


  • Ealdormann
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Re: Anglo Saxon date for Cerne Abbas giant
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2021, 11:26:50 PM »
And right under the nose of an abbey  ;D


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Re: Anglo Saxon date for Cerne Abbas giant
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2021, 10:18:13 PM »
Thanks for that, Blackdragon.
I felt rather chuffed, but not wholly surprised that some forerunner of the Cerne Abbas Giant should date to the Late Saxon Period and maybe even earlier because, disappointed though I was to find that, of all the hill figures known in the British Isles, only the White Horse of Uffington is truly ancient, I drew one or two conclusions about hill figures whilst mugging up about them for my book.
For instance: the Red Horse of Tysoe in Warwickshire features in my book.  Lord Athelred’s court meets at one of his leading liege-lord’s longhalls nearby early in the tenth century.  Not because it is there now but because it used to be until the Early Modern Period, and the two sketches made before it vanished entirely are so unalike one may wonder whether any pre-Conquest figure was a horse at all.
For one thing the fading of the Red Horse of Tysoe made me realise was that, like barrows being ploughed out, stone rings being chipped or carted away for building stone* and stone crosses being taken down after the Reformation**, and that is the likelihood that there used to be more hill figures the further back in history you go.  Far from feeling surprised by the Late Saxon date here, it may be what we should expect.  Like harvest hills such as Brinklow in Warwickshire, the one Capability Brown incorporated into one of his gardens and the new one, hiding out in the open in Yorkshire, quite possibly the Old English were more familiar with the sight of hill figures than we are. 
   I’ve certainly dared to portray a since-lost one in Free Mercia in my book, loosely based on a Scandinavian petroglyph of a Bronze Age ship ( by all means offer a better idea, anyone):
  Urging on their ponies, they rode higher into the hills along the bridle-paths at the slopes’ feet, gazing ahead to wherever Lady Ethelflæd was taking them.
   All at once their eyes were caught by a huge and undreamt-of shape on the hither slope, now rising steeply a few hundred yards ahead.  A shape that beamed whitely beneath the cloudless sunshine.  No sooner had they told themselves that it was just some graze in the turf where some landslide must have bared the chalky scree beneath, than they found it hard to miss the way its outline and setting could only be the work of middle-earthlings; though whether soul-bearing or soulless, they could only guess.
   Dread of the latter stalked up their spines as they followed Lady Ethelflæd nearer.  Far and forgotten though this spot may be, there was ever less room for doubt that careful feet had once marked out this unhomely shape.   
   Edgy and dumbstruck, yet filled afresh with the thrill of working out another of Lady Ethelflæd’s riddles, the children ran beady eyes over the shape.  The sun was still low enough to throw slanting shadows, and by these they could tell that the shape had once been larger, with a sprinkling of shallow troughs in the grass pointing north-away by the shape’s upper edge.  Deeper lay the hollows where the chalk peeked up that seemed to belong to them.  Or rather were they one, long hollow bending from east to west like a bough from which there were north-pointing twigs?  It was unlike any hill figure known to the children-in-lore old or new, and not simply because good Christians thought better of looking at them this closely.  Horses or fire-drakes, heroes or gods ( it depended on who you listened to) were the shapes the dwellers of the elder world were said to have scored across hillsides.   
   “It looks like the grin of God,” said Edwald, trying to make a joke of it.
   “A toothy grin?” said Oswin, nodding to the north-pointing uprights that could be fangs.  “The smirk of the Soulkeeper, more like!” he laughed, then wished he hadn’t.  Every mind within earshot charmed up a vision of the bow-like bend wrenching itself open and pitching them deep into the fires and fiends of Hel’s Halls.  Some newbies crossed themselves.
   “Is it a sickle?”
   “Is it the Moon?”
   “Is it an antler?”
   “A cloudship with Magonians on board?”     


Yet this discovery made me wonder what hill figures other ġesīþas think the Old English may have seen, or created?  And if created, just what exactly?  The Wessex Wyvern?  The Wild Boar of Lord Frey and Lady Freigh?  Woden on an eight-legged steed?  HUGE bindrunes?  Sergeant Oddball?  The Blue Peter ship?  The Macdonald’s logo ( to put the French off invading) or the Vasectomy Club symbol ( to see that nobody else does***)?  I’m guessing that hill figures of too-obviously Heathen significance would not survive the Conversion, unless they could be re-worked into something of Christian significance; a bindrune that could be adjusted to look like the Chi-Rho symbol, say, or if a sunwheel ( the swastika) it could turned into a crucifix just by letting the outer arms grass over, or Thunor’s Hammer could be turned into a crucifix by adding a line above it.
It may be that the Red Horse of Tysoe had eight legs before the Conversion, four of which were quietly left to grass over once Christianity had taken root.
Also do any locations suggest themselves as likely locations?
Thoughts?  Ideas anyone?
 * The village of Rowtrundle in Devon may be the end result of a process left unfinished at Avebury, if only somebody will do a GPR/ muon tomographic/ gravimetric-thingie survey there, there may be megaliths buried thereabouts we could resurrect.
 ** Giving rise to the optical illusion that they are ‘Celtic Crosses’, because more survived where Catholic sentiment lingered.
 ***Of course, I realise hill figures could be just a way to signal “COME AND GE-E-ET US!” to the space aliens, but of late I feel we all have something to back up a doubt or two about that.  Am I the only one to have noticed that, facing the Corvid-19 global pandemic, this is the first time that the whole human race has faced a common danger?  That we know about ( some supervolcano in Indochina may have come close to wiping hominins off the face of the Earth in remote prehistory, but if memory serves that was too early for us to be humans, exactly).  And am I the only one coming to the conclusion that, taken as a whole, and with both eyes wide open to our many vices and follies and shortcomings, that the whole damn human race has faced it together rather well?  Maybe it is the adaptations we got out of toughing out the supervolcano, being catfood, the Ice Ages etc. because it looks as if there's a... reason why we Homo sapiens sapiens are the only hominins left standing.  We proved to be the best at standing by one another and the hardest to kill when we do; and that’s why, for all their superior technology and intelligence “vast and cool and unsympathetic” the Treens, the Pseudoarachnids, the Zillons and Ming the Merciless all thought better of taking us out.   
So.... so up yours,  >:(  Thargors.  If you want the Earth you’ll have to kill all of us and “That may not be one of the lighter matters”.
The moral right of the author to be identified from space has been asserted.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 11:01:47 PM by Bowerthane »