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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


The Mildenhall treasure

The Mildenhall treasure

The Great Dish

Silver spoons

Silver spoons

Treasure Trove

P&E 1946 10-7 1 to 34

This hoard is one of the most important collections of late-Roman silver tableware from the Roman Empire. The objects were found during ploughing near Mildenhall in Suffolk, eastern England, in 1942 and were declared Treasure Trove in 1946. Although no coins were found to give a reliable date, the tableware's style and decoration is typical of the fourth century AD. The artistic and technical quality of the silver objects is outstanding, and though we do not know who owned them, it was probably a person or family of considerable wealth and high social status.

So far little is known about the production centres for silver plate in Britain, though we do know about the manufacturing techniques, as for example, the decoration found on some of the Mildenhall objects. This is achieved by chasing and engraving, while niello inlay was used to create black lines on the silver background. The only examples of gilding are seen on the dolphin-shaped handles of the round ladles. Much of the decoration relates to the mythology and worship of Bacchus, the god of wine, a theme that was very popular on silver tableware throughout the Roman period.

From the collection of the British Museum

On display: Room 49: Roman Britain