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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


Head of Pazuzu

Head of Pazuzu

Height: 4.600 cm

ME 93090

The face of the ancient Mesopotamian god Pazuzu was said to be anathema to the demon Lamashtu. It was, therefore, widely used on pendants worn to protect the wearer against evil.

This bearded snarling head made of bronze was acquired by Claudius James Rich (1786-1821), who successfully identified the remains of Babylon in 1811. The head was found in one of the graves there. Rich described it as 'a little brass ornament that was found with a skeleton in a coffin at the Mujelibe'. This suggests that it had been re-used in antiquity, since later excavations at this part of Babylon have shown these graves to be much later in date.

On display: Enlightenment: Ancient scripts