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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

 

Pottery cup


Black polished incised cup


Height: 8.900 cm
Diameter: 6.000 cm

EA 51211


The handmade pottery produced by C-Group craftsmen is highly distinctive. This cup has the features of their characteristic 'polished incised ware'. It has a round bottom and is bowl-shaped, although it is small enough to be considered a cup and was probably designed to hold food and drink.

The cup's exterior is incised with diamonds filled with cross hatching, perhaps derived from designs used in basket work. Other motifs include herringbone patterns and other geometric shapes with smooth and incised areas. The incised decoration was applied to the pot before the clay was dry. The vessel was fired to leave a black or sometimes a red finish, which was highly polished. Finally, white pigment was rubbed into the incisions to make the pattern stand out. The remains of the white pigment can be seen in some areas on this cup, but most is now lost.

The C-Group culture developed around 2300 BC and their economy was based on rearing animals, mainly cattle. Permanent settlements multiplied, the more advanced ones containing stone houses, and chiefdoms emerged. Jewellery of bone, shell, stone and faience was made and leather garments were worn. Chiefs traded peacefully with the Egyptians until they gained political domination and C-Group traditions died out by around 1600 BC.

On display: Room 65: Sudan, Egypt & Nubia