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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

 

The Grave


Plan of the gravePlan of the grave

Skeleton from the eastSkeleton from the eastSkeleton from the eastSkeleton from the east

Skeleton from the eastSkeleton from the eastSkeleton from the eastSkeleton from the east

Pig bones on the skeletonPig bones on the skeleton

Pig bones on the skeletonPig bones on the skeleton

Kirkburn Sword

Kirkburn Sword


In most parts of Iron Age Britain funeral rituals did not lead to the burial of the dead person in a grave. However, in East Yorkshire from about 400 to 100 BC, people buried their dead in large cemeteries. Most were buried with only a few grave goods - a plain pot or a single brooch - or none at all. A very small number were buried with more spectacular items, such as the Kirkburn Sword, and very rarely, with a chariot. Over 700 Iron Age graves have been excavated in East Yorkshire since 1960 and only seven contain chariots.

The grave at Wetwang was on the top of a hill. The body of the woman lay in a crouched position at the south end, with a mirror propped against her legs. Her upper body was covered with joints of a pig, perhaps placed there as food for the Afterlife. The dismantled pieces of a chariot were then placed around her, the box platform carefully positioned so that it covered her body. The wood of the chariot has rotted, leaving only the metal fittings from the chariot and the horse harness. The horses themselves were not put into the ground. The grave was filled in and covered with a low mound, surrounded by a square ditch.

Main illustration: plan of the burial