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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 Pitney Brooch


The Pitney Brooch


Diameter: 39.000 mm

M&ME 1979,11-1,1


This elegant openwork brooch was found in a churchyard. The skill needed to make it indicates that it was probably worn by a man or woman of some importance, and the brooch would have been considered a symbol of prestige.

The main ornament is a snake with round eyes biting the underside of a four-legged animal, which in turn bites itself. A row of beads runs along the underside of the animal which is stretched into a looped ribbon. Its hips are marked with spirals and a spindly front and back leg are shown.

The brooch is a rare and fine example of the combination of Scandinavian and English art styles. The design, with its plant-like tendrils and ribbon animals, is an English version of the final phase of Viking art, the Urnes Style. However, the delicate beading which picks out the main animal, and the scalloped border of the brooch are both Anglo-Saxon features.

The brooch was cast in bronze with a slightly convex form, then gilded on both side. The reverse is plain, and still retains some fixings for the missing pin.