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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


Brick with Sanskrit inscription

Brick with Sanskrit inscriptio

Width: 39.000 cm
Height: 29.700 cm
Thickness: 7.300 cm

Asia OA 1880.3724

Markham Kittoe (1808-1853) found this brick in a field in the Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh. Kittoe served as an officer in the British army in India and later became the Archaeological Enquirer to the government in the North Western Provinces.

The brick is dated Sunday 11 June 1217 and has inscriptions in Sanskrit and a local dialect, which are written in Nagari script. These inscriptions record a mortgage for the sum of 'two thousand two hundred and fifty Shadbodika drammas' taken out by 'ra[ja] Gangadeva, son of ra[ja] Dhanu' against land that he owned.

These inscriptions also gave scholars an important insight into the structure of Indian society in the thirteenth century. Several nineteenth-century publications reported the brick's discovery and gave translations of its inscriptions.

On display: Enlightenment: Ancient scripts