The Bare Essentials:
For all to see, then?:
How did he get there?:
But there is another, more mundane theory, that he was carved by a 17th century landowner to spite England's then super-prude-in-chief Oliver Cromwell.
What did the Victorian's make of him?:
They may have, inadvertantly, contributed to the Cerne Abbas figure's racy image. According to an entry at the BBC's H2G2 public access website, he may once have had a navel (along with his well defined six-pack, no doubt). When he was restored, excavators mistook the navel for the tip of the phallus and, as a result, added nine feet to the phallus.
So, is he Britain's raciest sex symbol or a 17th century political prank?:
The National Trust is non-committal about this, pointing out that there is no documentary evidence of the giant before 1644 and that the owner of the hillside at that time was a critic of Oliver Cromwell. He may have cut the giant's two-foot-wide trenches into the chalk downs to satirize the puritanical leader.
The National Trust is hoping that a new technique called Optical Luminescence may reveal the truth. The same technique recently revealed that the Uffington White Horse, another monument carved into the chalk, is 3,000 years old.
During World War II, the giant was camouflaged to prevent the Germans from using him as an aerial landmark. After the war he was once again revealed and since then he is re-chalked and his grass is trimmed (Oh dear, there really is no way to talk about the Cerne Abbas Giant with a straight face, is there?)every 25 years.
Whatever his origins, many couples still regard the Cerne Abbas Giant, in the words of the National Trust, as "a unique aid to fertility" and parents with curious and precocious children have driven just a little bit faster along a certain stretch of the A352 north of Dorchester.