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The “penis” giant finally got a date.
Archaeologists proved that X-rated graffiti transcends time after tracing the origins of the infamous Cerne Abbas Giant — an NSFW chalk carving of a naked man in the UK — all the way back to the 10th century. This makes the pornographic depiction around 700 years older than was previously thought, New Scientist reported.
“Everyone was wrong and that makes these results even more exciting,” Mike Allen, a geoarchaeologist at Allen Environmental Archaeology in Codford, UK, told the BBC.
Allen led the yearlong study of the sexplicit hillside carving, which depicts a man holding a club while sporting a massive erection. Named after Cerne Abbas, the town in England which it overlooks, the lewd work was created by carving trenches into a hill, then filling them with white chalk, like a medieval police outline, New Scientist reported.
There are many theories on the exact origins of the Cerne Abbas Giant, whose earliest known reference comes from the records of the town church in 1694. Since it was not mentioned in a 1617 survey of the area by John Norden — a famously thorough English cartographer — many archaeologists deduced that the sophomoric drawing was “erected” sometime in the 1600s. However, other researchers believe that the exhibitionist figure could date back to antiquity.
“Many archaeologists and historians thought he was prehistoric or post-medieval, but not medieval,” Allen told the BBC.
To determine the actual date, Allen and his team extracted soil samples from both the giant’s chalk outline and the area immediately around it. They then used a technique called optically stimulated luminescence to gauge when the grains were last exposed to sunlight.
They found that the oldest chalk dated back to the Saxon period between A.D. 650 and 1310, indicating that the pervy work’s creation likely occurred somewhere in the middle, around A.D. 980.
It’s unclear why Saxons created such an X-rated engraving. However, scientists speculate that the “fantastically rude pagan image” was a response to the local Benedictine monastery, which was constructed in the late 10th century — think of it as the Middle Ages’ equivalent of bathroom graffiti.
“It’s like a big two fingers to the abbey,” said Alison Sheridan, an Edinburgh-based archaeological consultant.
The work has been updated several times throughout history, most recently in spring 2020, when some cheeky vandals painted a mask over its mouth in reference to the coronavirus pandemic, BBC reported.
The Cerne Abbas Giant isn’t the only ancient artifact in need of censoring. In 2019, archaeologists found a giant stone schlong at an ancient sacrifice site in Sweden. Meanwhile, professors stumbled upon a veritable pornucopia of 93 penises concealed in the UK’s famous Bayeux Tapestry in 2018.
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