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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


Jade slit rings (jue)

Jade slit rings (jue)

© 2003 Private Collection

Width: 4.100 cm
Width: 4.100 cm

On loan from a private collection OA 2:2

Slit rings, later named jue, along with discs, rings and arc pendants, were among the earliest of all ornaments to be made in fine polished stones such as jade. They were probably worn as earrings.

The earliest jue, which are more like slit tubes than slit rings, are found in the north-east in the Xinglongwa (about 5000 BC) and Chahai cultures (about 4500 BC), which preceded the Hongshan (about 3800-2700 BC)

The manufacture of jue probably spread from the north to the south-east to Zhejiang province, where they are found at Hemudu, and they remained in use in the south-east in the Majiabang and Songze cultures (5000-3000 BC). Many of these early jue are relatively thick and modelled in the round.

On display: Room 33b: Chinese jade