Object of the Week: Helsfell Wolf

Kendal Museum’s Helsfell wolf skeleton was excavated in 1880 by John Beecham a local archaeology enthusiast who lived in Kendal. Beecham wanted the specimens he discovered to be placed in the care of Kendal Museum. The skeleton has been displayed in Kendal Museum for over 100 years.

The Helsfell Wolf provides important evidence of region’s historical biodiversity, it enhances our understanding of Britain’s zoology and ecosystems and contributes to current debates about “rewilding” which links to local and global concerns.

Conservation Work

The unusually complete skeleton required conservation work to preserve this extraordinary object for future generations. The skeleton has been extensively cleaned and completely rearticulated. The conservation work took place at Lancashire conservation studios and the skeleton has returned to Kendal Museum.

The Helsfell Wolf Skeleton Before the conservation work
After the conservation work

The skeleton of Helsfell wolf is unique in its Cumbrian context and connects the county’s ecological past, present and future. The skeleton has been radio carbon dated at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre to learn more about the full extent of its significance.

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