A Date with the Two Cerne Giants

Seen the stories about the Cerne Abbas Giant in the news? Want to learn more? Enjoy this exclusive insight into an exciting Windgather Press volume on the subject, coming Summer 2024!

By Julie Gardiner, Publisher for Oxbow Books, and Michael J. Allen, editor of A Date with the Two Cerne Giants

The New Year has kicked off with something of a media frenzy surrounding the publication in an academic journal of a paper that quotes recently obtained OSL (Optically Stimulated Luminescence) dates for the iconic, very masculine, Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, whose origin and history have been long debated and discussed. The new dates were produced for a project undertaken in 2020 by the National Trust, led by Martin Papworth, in collaboration with Allen Environmental Archaeology and the universities of Gloucestershire and Bournemouth. Published by authors who had no involvement in the fieldwork or research project (nor did their respective academic institutions), the paper and the media interest it has spawned nevertheless provide excellent and convenient publicity for our forthcoming Windgather title A Date with the Two Cerne Giants (ISBN 9781914427374), edited by Michael J. Allen, due for publication in the Summer.

This fascinating new title presents the full results of the recent targeted excavations of the Giant and his hitherto unrecorded predecessor(s), as well as the extensive geophysical and auger surveys, soil, snail and landscape analyses and details of the OSL dating programme. A complete reassessment of the history of the Giant is provided (Brian Edwards) as well as consideration of the only other dated chalk figures (the Long Man of Wilmington and the Uffington White Horse, by their excavators, respectively Prof Martin Bell and Dr David Miles) and the phenomenon of chalk figures in Britain generally. Contributions from many leading archaeologists and historians consider the implications of the recent dating and reflect on the role, perception and influence of the Giant throughout recent history in social and material culture and his mysterious disappearance from all records for 600 years. As ever, there remain differences of opinion and interpretation, but this lively and readable account goes far beyond any other publication in examining this unique landscape feature and dispels or corrects some of the misconceptions and misinterpretations perpetuated in the recently published paper. A volume not to be missed!

Contributors include: Dr Michael J. Allen, Dr Stuart Brookes, Dr Rodney Castleden, Prof. Tim Darvill, Dr Andrew David, Prof. Ronald Hutton, Dr Paul Linford, Dr Martin Papworth, Dr Win Scutt, Prof. Phillip Toms, Prof. Tom Williamson & Prof. Barbara Yorke

A Date with Two Cerne Giants will shortly be available for pre-order from www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

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Featured image credit: Nilfanion, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons



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