The Cerne Abbas Giant in England, believed to have been a feature on the countryside since the 17th century, is in need of a restoration.
Dozens of volunteers have signed up to re-chalk and restore the giant by hand. Since its last restoration in 2008, weeds and weather have slowly worn away at the outline of the figure. The restoration will clean up the outline and brighten up the figure with new chalk.
Natalie Holt of the National Trust, who have overseen the Cerne Abbas Giant since 1920, says, "It needs re-doing every 10 years or so because he does get discolored and weathered and covered in weeds. The first job is to dig out all the old chalk before hammering in 17 [tons] of new chalk."
The giant, who is depicted as a naked man with an erection holding a club, is still shrouded in mystery. Mike Clark of the Cerne Historical Society says, "There are many different theories surrounding the giant's identity and origin. Some claim he is an ancient symbol, perhaps a likeness of the Greco-Roman God Hercules, though the earliest record mention of the Giant only dates from 1694. Others suggest he was created to mock Oliver Cromwell. These are the most [favored] theories but all of them have their drawbacks. Local folklore has also long held him to be an aid to fertility."
"When we're happy we've done a really goo job of packing the chalk, we will leave him alone and tamper with him as little as possible to preserve him for another decade," adds Holt.