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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


Africa '05

Africa '05 was a series of major events taking place across London to celebrate contemporary and past cultures across the continent. Objects from or inspired by Africa can be found throughout the British Museum's collections. This tour, which was specially created for Africa '05, presents a diverse selection of these.

The oldest objects in the tour are the stone chopping tools from Olduvai Gorge, made 1.8 million years ago, while the most recent are Khaled Ben Slimane's vibrant ceramics. A statue commemorates Septimius Severus, the first African emperor of Rome, and the sphinx depicts Taharqo, a Sudanese ruler of ancient Egypt. The treasure from the Salcombe Cannon site indicates flourishing trade between North Africa and Europe in the sixteenth century. The blue glass tea bowl and the Asante-style drum help to tell the important story of slavery.

The objects included highlight the influence and importance of Africa in world history and culture. Each entry is accompanied by a personal response from a Londoner of African or Caribbean origin.