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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


Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum

Neil MacGregor has been Director of the British Museum since August 2002 and has devoted particular attention to developing the Museum’s regional and international partnerships.

Mr MacGregor recently announced that he is to step down from his position at the British Museum at the end of 2015.

Neil sits on the Board of the National Theatre and the International Advisory Board of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. In both his current and his previous role as Director of the National Gallery, Neil worked closely with BBC radio and television to bring the collections to the widest possible public.

Most recently, the British Museum and the BBC worked together on a project telling A History of the World in 100 objects. At the heart of this project was the British Museum/BBC Radio 4 series of a hundred 15-minute episodes, based on objects from the British Museum’s collection. This has been a platform for partnerships with museums across the UK and a wide programme of activity.

Neil read French and German at New College, Oxford, and studied philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. He took an LLB in Law at the University of Edinburgh and was called to the Scottish Bar. He then decided to study 17th- and 19th-century art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and for six years was a lecturer in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Reading and a part-time lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art. In 1981 he became Editor of the arts periodical, The Burlington Magazine, and then in 1987 became Director of the National Gallery.

Neil MacGregor

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum