One of the most mysterious features of the ancient landscape is the enormous hill figures — massive drawings literally carved into the landscape, created by hewing away turf and earth to expose bright chalk below. Only a handful of such figures survive intact, all in the English countryside:
The Cerne Abbas Giant is also known as the “Rude Man” for his remarkable genitalia. The giant is bald and carries a large club, leading to speculation that he represents the god Ogmios or even the Roman Hercules.
The “Long Man” of Wilmington may represent a warrior or a god. This enigmatic standing figure appears to hold two spears.
The Uffington Horse is one of a great number of horse figures, most of which have been lost. The image appears on coins unearthed in local archaeological explorations and may reflect the image of a goddess.
The purpose of the hill figures is unknown, although they have obvious religious import. They may have been intended to promote fertility, mark festivals, or serve as a votive offering.