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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

 

Decorated bronze mirror


Decorated bronze mirror

©


Length: 35.000 cm

P&EE 1924 1-9 1


The decoration seen here is on the back of the mirror, while the front would originally have been highly polished to provide a reflection. The pattern is very complex: a clover-leaf pattern is symmetrically repeated on the left- and right-hand side of the mirror. The pattern may have been laid out using a compass.

Recent archaeologists have suggested that mirrors should be seen as symbols of female status and power, making as significant a statement for women as swords did for men. However, there is very little evidence to tell us which sex used mirrors, or if they were used exclusively by one sex or another.

On display: Room 50: Britain and Europe