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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

 

Shells from the collection of Gustavus Brander


Shells from the collection of

© 2003 The Natural History Museum


Height: 14.000 cm (Murex pyrus Solander 1766; The Pear Murex-shell)
Depth: 6.000 cm (modern name: Sycostoma pyrus (Solander, 1766))
Height: 14.000 cm (Murex pyrus Solander 1766; The Pear Murex-shell)
Depth: 6.000 cm (modern name: Sycostoma pyrus (Solander, 1766))
Height: 14.000 cm (Murex pyrus Solander 1766; The Pear Murex-shell)
Depth: 6.000 cm (modern name: Sycostoma pyrus (Solander, 1766))
Height: 14.000 cm (Murex pyrus Solander 1766; The Pear Murex-shell)
Depth: 6.000 cm (modern name: Sycostoma pyrus (Solander, 1766))

On loan from the Natural History Museum GG8335 (Murex pyrus), GG21014 (Murex minax), GG8337-9 (Strombus luctator)


Gustavus Brander (1720-87) found these fossil shells near his country residence at Christchurch in Dorset. He later gave them to the British Museum.

Brander was a wealthy London merchant and antiquary of Swedish parentage. He was a Director of the Bank of England, a Fellow of the Royal Society and a trustee of the British Museum.

Brander's collection is important because it was carefully catalogued, described and illustrated by Daniel Solander, who was then working at the British Museum. The resulting work, Fossilia Hantoniensia ('Hampshire Fossils') of 1766, was the first to describe a collection of fossils using the new biological classification system devised by Carl Linnaeus, of whom Solander was a pupil. The beautifully illustrated book is still consulted today.

Solander was an extremely able scholar, who did much to further the reputation of the Department of Natural and Artificial Productions at the British Museum, where he worked until his death. His work there probably influenced the decision of the Royal Society to transfer its own collections to the Museum in 1781.

On display: Enlightenment: Natural world