Cerne Giant and other Wessex Hill Figures

28 September 2024, 9:30am - 5pm

Victorian Hall

The Cerne Abbas Giant is one of the most recognisable and talked about hill figures in the UK. This special conference draws upon recent excavations and new research by the National Trust, led by Martin Papworth, and offers the opportunity to explore the giant in relationship to other significant hill figures in the region. The conference will also launch the new publication ‘A Date with the Two Cerne Giants: Reinvestigating an Iconic British Hill Figure’ which will be on sale at a one-day-only price of £18.75 (normally £24.95 plus p&p).

There will also be an opportunity to explore resources and displays in the conference hall on the day including geophysical and auger surveys, and to meet contributors to the recent National Trust project and publication.

Ticket price includes the opportunity to explore the Museum & Art Gallery during the day. Please note that light refreshments will be provided during the day, but the ticket price does not include lunch. Participants are welcome to bring their own lunch to eat in the conference room and will be sent a list of local eateries close to the conference date.

Tickets may be cancelled with a full refund up to seven days before the event.  After that date, cancellations will not be eligible for a refund.


  • Standard £40
  • DNHAS members £35
  • Students £25

Draft conference programme

Chairs: Professor Tim Darvill (Bournemouth University) and TBA

9:30 – 9:50          Registration

9:50 –10:00         Welcome

Elizabeth Selby (Dorset Museum & Art Gallery) and Mike Allen (Allen Environmental Archaeology)

Session 1              Session Chair: Professor Tim Darvill

10:00 – 10:40     The 2020 Cerne Giant Project

Dr Martin Papworth, National Trust & Dr Mike Allen, Allen Environmental Archaeology

10:40 – 11:15     Excavation and Research at the Long Man of Wilmington

Professor Martin Bell, University of Reading and Chris Butler, CBAS Ltd

11:15 – 11:50     Uffington white horse

Dr David Miles, former Chief Archaeologist, English Heritage

11:50 – 12:10     Tea break

Session 2              Session Chair: Professor Tim Darvill

12:10 – 12:45     Hide and Seek with the Giant

Brian Edwards, University of the West of England

12:45 –12:55      Discussion

12:55 – 1:55        Lunch

Session 3              Session Chair: tbc

1:50 – 2:05           Our Cerne Giant: what the Giant means to us

Kate Adie, Author and Broadcaster

2:05 – 2:35          The Giant in his Saxon context

Professor Barbara Yorke, University of Winchester

2:35 – 3:05         Images of the Giant

Dr Sarah Fry, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

3:05 – 3:35        Eric Ravilious and his ‘White Horses and Hill Figures’ watercolours for the 1939 Puffin book

David Dawson, Wiltshire Museum, Devizes

3:35 –3:55          Tea Break

Session 4              Session Chair: tbc

3:55 – 4:30          Wiltshire’s equine chalk hill figures: where to start?

Garry Gibbons, Independent Researcher

4:30 – 4:40          Closing discussion and remarks

4:40                        Close

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    Daily: 9.00am - 4.00pm
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