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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


Spinning and weaving tools

Spinning and weaving tools

Height: 13.600 cm (triangular loom weight)

Gifts of Canon W. Greenwell, Sir A.W. Franks, F.J. Durban Esq., Lord Mulgrave, A. Dawson & Co., Burton Agnes Estate Trust

P&EE 1882 2-14 1;P&EE 1896 4-11 102;P&EE 1915 10-15 65;P&EE 1938 5-7 151;P&EE 1963 12-8 118, 125, 126;P&EE 1988 4-9 5;P&EE 1990 4-2 1;P&EE 1992 2-5 2;P&EE H H 94

Most clothes in Iron Age Britain were made from sheep's wool - sheep were kept on most farms. The clothes themselves are almost never preserved, because cloth rots easily and decays in the ground.

Shown here is a range of tools for making clothes. The small round objects are spindle whorls. Each one would have been used to weight a spindle, a tool used to spin wool into threads. The threads were woven into cloth on a loom. Although wooden looms are not usually preserved, the large weights that were used to keep the threads tight survive. Long-handled combs made from animal bone or deer antler were used by weavers. Other bone tools were used make holes in the finished cloth or to sew pieces of cloth together to make clothes.

On display: Room 50: Britain and Europe