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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


Kirkburn Sword

The Kirkburn Sword

Kirkburn Sword

The warrior's grave

The warrior's grave

Length: 70.000 cm

Gift of J.S. Rymer

P&EE 1987 4-4 2

This sword is both an incredibly complicated weapon and a fine work of art. The handle is unusually elaborate. It is made of thirty-seven pieces of iron, bronze and horn, and is decorated with red glass. The sword was carried in a scabbard made from iron and bronze. The polished bronze front plate was decorated with a La Tène style scroll pattern, and with red glass studs and insets.

The sword was clearly a valued object. The scabbard had been damaged and was repaired some time after it had originally been made, which might have been many years before it was placed in the grave with its final owner.

Other views: The warrior's grave with the sword by the side of the skeleton (bottom centre)

On display: Room 50: Britain and Europe