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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Venetia Porter

Assistant Keeper (Curator), Islamic and contemporary Middle East

Department: Middle East 


+44 (0)20 7323 8843


Venetia is a curator responsible for the collection of Islamic art, in particular of the Arab World and Turkey as well as developing the collection of the modern and contemporary art of the Middle East.

She was previously curator of Islamic coins in the Department of Coins and Medals. She gained a degree in Arabic and Persian at the University of Oxford, followed by a M.Phil in Islamic Art, obtaining her Ph.D on 'The history and monuments of the Tahirid dynasty of the Yemen 858-923/1454-1517' from the University of Durham. She recently curated the exhibition Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam (2012).

Current projects

Editor of Hajj: Collected essays (Proceedings of the conference March 2012), British Museum Research Publications

Previous projects

Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam, exhibition, British Museum, January – April 2012

Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East, exhibition, British Museum May – September 2006, and Dubai, DIFC, 2008

Mightier than the Sword, exhibition, Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne, 2003, and Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia, 2004

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Trustee, The Honor Frost Foundation Committee member, Seminar for Arabian Studies Fellow Royal Asiatic Society Secretary, Leigh Douglas Memorial Fund

Recent publications


V. Porter (ed.) Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam (British Museum Press, London 2012)

V. Porter, The Art of Hajj (British Museum Press, London 2012)

V. Porter and Annabel Teh Gallop, Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic world (Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia 2012)

V.Porter and M. Rosser-Owen (eds.), Metalwork and Material Culture in the Islamic World: Art, Craft and Text (I.B.Tauris, London 2012)

V. Porter, Arabic and Persian Seals and Amulets in the British Museum (British Museum Research papers no. 160, 2011)

V. Porter, Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East, Catalogue of the exhibition at the British Museum (British Museum Press London 2006)

V. Porter, Mightier than the Sword, with Heba Salih Catalogue of the exhibition at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur 2004)

V. Porter, Islamic Tiles, London, (British Museum Press 1995, reprinted most recently 2005)

Selected articles

V. Porter, 'Behind the image' in Marta Weiss (ed.) Light from the Middle East (Steidl/V&A, London 2012)

V. Porter, ‘Meem 1958, by Siah Armajani’ in V.Porter and M. Rosser-Owen (eds.) Metalwork and Material Culture in the Islamic World: Art, Craft and Text (I.B.Tauris, London 2012)

V.Porter, ‘The Arabic inscriptions on the Maître Alpais and the British Museum ciboria’ in The Heritage of ‘Maître Alpais’ eds. S. La Niece, S. Rôhrs and B. McLeod . (British Museum Research papers no. 182, 2010

V.Porter,’The use of the Arabic script in magic’ in The development of Arabic as a written language, ed. M.C.A Macdonald. Supplement to the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies vol. 40, 2010

V.Porter, ‘Magical inscriptions in Linear Kufic on rock-crystal amulet-seals’ in Rivers of Paradise, eds. S. and J. Bloom (Yale University Press 2009)

V. Porter, ‘Collecting and exhibiting Arab art at the British Museum’ in New Vision: Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st century, eds. H. Amirsadegui, S. Mikdadi and N. Shabout (London 2009)

V. Porter, ‘Arabic inscriptions from Qal’at al-Bahrain excavations’ in K. Frifelt Islamic Remains in Bahrain , (Moesgard 2001)

V. Porter, ‘Inscriptions of Companions of the Prophet in the Merv oasis’ in Islamic Reflections Arabic Musings: Studies in Honour of Alan Jones, ed. R. Hoyland and P. Kennedy, (Oxford 2004)

V. Porter, 'The architectural decoration' and with Y. al-Nasiri ‘The inscriptions’, in al-Radi, S. The 'Amiriya in Rada' Oxford Studies in Islamic Art XIII, 1998