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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

 

Enlightenment: The Birth of Archaeology


Stone, Bronze & Iron Age axes


Height: 19.400 cm (Scotby Comb hand-axe)
Width: 7.100 cm
Height: 19.400 cm (Scotby Comb hand-axe)
Width: 7.100 cm
Height: 19.400 cm (Scotby Comb hand-axe)
Width: 7.100 cm

P&EE unreg. (Sturge Collection);P&EE WG 1987;P&EE 1915,12-8.337


In the eighteenth century, the people who collected and studied the material remains of past societies called themselves antiquaries. At first, antiquaries searched for objects that related to the accounts of classical authors such as Livy. Roman remains were easy to find and understand, but the written sources could not explain other monuments, such as Stonehenge. Antiquaries therefore had to search for other information about the people living in Britain before the Romans arrived.

In order to understand the remains of the early Britons, antiquaries developed new methods for collecting, studying and classifying. They learnt to 'read' the landscape, to survey ancient sites and to excavate them methodically. When this was combined with the new science of stratigraphy and a growing understanding of the age of the earth, archaeology was born.

This is one of a series of tours exploring the themes of the British Museum Enlightenment gallery

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

On display: Enlightenment: Archaeology