ARCHAEOLOGIST Rob Wilson-North has dug up a new mystery surrounding the Cerne Abbas giant.

He has identified earthworks near the iconic figure suggestive of the monument’s best known attributes.

Mr Wilson-North picked out two mounds and a long gulley protruding from them which may have been used as a water feature.

He wrote to the Current Archaeology magazine to enter the debate about the origins of the giant with evidence from a survey of the site he held with a colleague.

Mr Wilson-North, historic environment manager for the Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “When I did the survey I had a chuckle.

“You can’t ignore it. When somebody was laying out the gardens they clearly intended to mimic the giant.”

The earthworks are now hidden amid trees close to the giant. They would have formed parts of the gardens when the Abbey of Cernes was transformed into a country mansion in the mid-16th century after the dissolution of the monasteries.

The National Trust owns the giant itself although not the land with the features.

Lead warden for West Dorset Rob Rhodes said the trust had not noticed the features.

He said: “Any new evidence is gratefully received and is something our team of archaeologists will take into account when studying the giant.

“My personal view is that we don’t know how old the giant is. It could be thousands of years or fairly recent. Anything which adds to the legend surrounding it makes it more interesting and exciting.”

Brian Thompson, publicity officer for the Dorset Countryside Volunteers, said they hadn’t noticed the earthworks.