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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

 

Amulets


Heart scarab amulet

Faience wedjat eye (EA 26300)

Faience wedjat eye (EA 26300)

Glazed djed pillar amulet (EA 12235)

Glazed djed pillar amulet (EA 12235)

Turquoise djed pillar amulet (EA 48667)

Turquoise djed pillar amulet (EA 48667)


Amulets were an important way of giving a person special powers or protection. They were worn by the living and were often placed on the bodies of the dead, within mummy wrappings. Several are visible within Nesperennub's bandages. These small images or figurines were usually made of stone, metal or glazed ceramic, and their power was supposed to reside in their shape, their colour, the material they were made from, and any magical texts inscribed on them or spoken over them. The position of the amulets was also important; many were placed on the neck and upper body, regarded by the Egyptians as the most vulnerable area.

The amulet shown here is a 'heart scarab'. Usually carved from dark green or black stone, these represent the scarab beetle - a manifestation of the sun god and a symbol of the renewal of life. The scans show what is probably a 'heart scarab', close to Nesperennub's right collar bone. On the chest is a pectoral, probably made of sheet metal, in the form of outspread wings. Just below the winged pectoral is an object resembling a sheaf of papyrus plants bound together in the form of a tall column, or sceptre. This amulet is usually made of greenish glazed faience, symbolizing new life by association with the growth of plants. Another group of small amulets cluster at Nesperennub's throat, including a djed pillar and a wedjat eye. There are also what appear to be two squatting figures, which may represent a deity such as the air-god Shu.