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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


Gold coin in the name of Tincomarus

Gold coin in the name of Tinco

Diameter: 16.000 mm
Weight: 5.450 g

CM 1996.10-22.50

In the late first century BC, the rulers of southern England began to put their names on their coins. These coins represent the earliest evidence of the use of writing in Britain. One of these kings, we now know, was called Tincomarus. His name is legible on the back of this coin. TINCO can be clearly seen above the horse, MA between the horse's legs and RVS running anti-clockwise in front of the horse's head. The name may mean something like 'big fish' in Ancient British (a variety of Celtic language) or Insular Celtic. He was the ruler of a kingdom centred on the modern counties of Hampshire and Sussex.

On display: Room 50: Britain and Europe