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25 June 2004
Long Man of Wilmington gets younger

The Long Man of Wilmington, the famous chalk figure of a man cut into a hillside near Eastbourne, Sussex, in the south of England, may be much younger than previously thought.
     The figure is 67m tall, and is depicted standing, holding two poles, one in either hand. The poles have been seen as spears, or perhaps gates into the netherworld.
     Generations of experts and scholars have dated the figure to anywhere between 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age, and the first known drawing of it in 1710 CE. Recent consensus of opinions suggested it was actually made around 700 CE.
     But now a year-long investigation by the University of Reading's archaeology department has brought that date into question. Having examined material unearthed at the bottom of the hill, Professor Martin Bell said "There are various pieces of evidence that point to the 16th Century."
     Around that time there was an episode of instability and erosion there suggesting that the figure may have been made then. With the date it was made established, Professor Bell pointed out "The mystery now is why he was created."

Source: This Is Brighton & Hove (23 June 2004)

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