The Ardross wolf

ardross wolf

One of the most interesting artefacts portraying the existence of wolves in Britain was chanced upon in Ardross in the Scottish Highlands 1891 while repairing a drystone wall. One of the two carved stone slabs found depicts a wolf, while a second one shows a deer. They are considered two of the finest surviving Pictish animal symbols ever discovered, and are now displayed at Inverness Museum. Image from here

The BBC featured the stone in its series A History of the World in Objects which notes “Made in the 6th or 7th century, the craftmanship is superb, a narrow line, expertly carved with a cleanly cut v-shaped profile. It shows a magnificent wolf which looks like it’s about to leap off the stone at any moment.”

Ancient footprints at Formby

The peat and clay beds at Formby have an interesting story. Coastal erosion in the form of storms regularly expose new layers revealing footprints of humans and animals including red deer, aurochs, wolves, oystercatchers and common cranes.

About 7500 years ago a series of sand bars or barrier islands developed along the coast off Formby Point, resulting in an intertidal lagoon between them and the shore.  For 3000 years, animals, birds and people left their tracks along the muddy shoreline. Some were baked hard by the sun, each tide covering them with a thin layer of sand and silt.  Then about 4500 years ago the shoreline moved westwards, sealing in everything. (dedicated website)

The prints are quickly worn away and so researchers, including my father as a volunteer, have to work fast to record them. The study has found that most prints were made by children with a smaller number of women and relatively few adult males. The adult males were often found in the same areas as red deer – presumably hunting them – while women and children may have been on the mudflats collecting shells or looking for nesting birds. See video 6,000 year old footprints in the sand.

Websites

Excellent selection of wildlife articles on the Sefton coast