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Mystery of Cerne Abbas Giant solved?

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Researchers from Oxford University suggest that the Cerne Abbas Giant depicts the image of Hercules, the Roman equivalent of the Greek divine hero Heracles, and served as a muster station for armies during the Saxon period.

The Cerne Abbas Giant is a 55 metre tall carved hill figure near the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England. The origins of the giant has long been a mystery, with the earliest written record dating to the late 17th century.

The figure depicts a colossal naked man carrying a knotted club and has a line across the waist that has been suggested to represent a belt.

A study conducted in 1996 observed alterations in certain characteristics over time. It concluded that when originally carved, the figure had a cloak draped over its left arm and potentially held an object, speculated to be a severed head beneath its left hand.

Tests conducted by the National Trust in 2021 determined that the giant was carved in the Anglo-Saxon period between AD 700–1100, when the land was owned by the West Saxon royal family in the 9th Century and the 10th Century.

A further study by researchers from Oxford University now suggest that the figure depicts Hercules and was a muster station for West Saxon armies during a period when Saxon kingdoms were in conflict with invading Vikings.

According to the researchers, the giant’s position, protruding from a ridge and situated near major route ways, combined with nearby fresh water sources and the locality to a West Saxon estate made it the perfect mustering spot.

The study also suggests that the figure was reinterpreted as portraying Saint Eadwold by the monks at Cerne Abbey in a bid to lay claim to the saint’s relics. References to the giant are also alluded in an 11th-century manuscript housed at the British Library, which recounts the tale of a nearby hermit, Saint Eadwold, planting his staff atop the hill.

Dr Morcom, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oslo, told the BBC: “Having a large, very obviously naked, pagan figure on your doorstep was an inconvenient fact for the monks and they engaged in a piece of intellectual interpretation, associating him with their patron saint, Eadwold.”

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Rare copper dagger found in Polish forest

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A rare copper dagger from over 4,000-years-ago has been discovered in the forests near Korzenica, southeastern Poland.

Piotr Gorlach from the Historical and Exploration Association Grupa Jarosław made the discovery during a metal detector survey in Jarosław Forest.

Upon realising the significance of the find, Mr Gorlach contacted the Podkarpacie conservator of monuments in Przemyśl and the Orsetti House Museum.

The dagger dates from over 4,000 years ago, a period in which objects made from copper were extremely rare in the Central European Plain.

A preliminary study indicates that the dagger may originate from the Carpathian Basin or Ukrainian steppe, and predates the development of bronze metallurgy for the region.

This transition is traditionally known as the Copper Age and marked a gradual incorporation of copper while stone remained the primary resource utilised.

Dr. Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt from the museum in Jarosław, said: “This is a period of enormous change in the main raw materials for the production of tools. Instead of flint tools commonly used in the Stone Age, more and more metal products appear heralding the transition to the next period – the Bronze Age.”

Daggers during this era were a universal attribute of warriors, however, being made from copper suggests that the owner held a high social status. This is further supported by its size measuring 10.5 cm in length, which for this period is actually very large when compared to other metal objects from the same era.

The dagger has already been added to the collection of the Orsetti House Museum in Jarosław.

Header Image Credit : Łukasz Śliwiński

Sources : PAP – A dagger from over 4,000 years ago found in the forest.

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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