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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: Trade and Discovery


Jasperware medallion of Captai


Length: 3.700 inches

M&ME 1887,3-7.I.71


Christopher Columbus is said to have 'discovered' America in 1492, but we know now that Vikings began visiting the northeast coast from the tenth century. In any case, America was hardly a 'discovery' to the peoples who already lived there.

During the Enlightenment, explorers and natural historians such as Captain James Cook and surveyed lands that were new to the West, identifying trading opportunities and making scientific observations. Trading companies like the Honourable East India Company with its vast bureaucracy and own army, expanded their activities widely during the long eighteenth century.

Some collected 'curiosities' as souvenirs or for sale back home. Increasingly, however, these objects were used to provide knowledge about the variety of different ways of life of people around the world and especially the relationships between them. This led to a growing realisation of the shared humanity of the people of the world.

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: Trade-Discovery