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Elephant's tooth

Our elephant's tooth was excavated from the bottom of the moat at Penrith Castle. The Ministry of Works found the tooth in July 1921 it was below the north east elevation of the Castle.

After the tooth was found an article appeared in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald where Dr J F Haswell, a physician and vice president of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, was reported as saying to Penrith Literary and Scientific Society during a guided tour of the castle 'it was somewhat peculiar that the only thing discovered in the castle moat was an elephant's tooth.'

Radiocarbon dating of the Elephant's tooth

In March 2015, radiocarbon date testing of the a sample of tooth is being carried out by CHRONO Centre, Queen's University, Belfast.

The radiocarbon dating was made possible by a grant from the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society of £200 together with £60 from the Friends of Penrith and Eden Museum.

A medieval date might suggest the tooth was once owned by a person of high status associated with the Castle, this may have been Richard, Duke of Gloucester. The Middle Ages saw a cult of relics and fabulous objects with which archaeologists recently linked the finding of an elephant's bone from a dig in Chester city centre. However, a more recent date may suggest a link with a travelling circus.

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The museum is open all year and admission is free. The museum's opening hours are the same as Penrith Tourist Information Centre.

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