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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


Ivory head of a lion

Ivory head of a lion

Height: 5.500 cm

ME 134320

In their first season at Nimrud, the small team of four people lived in a mud-brick house belonging to the local sheikh. After that a dig-house was built. It still stands, now used by the Iraq Department of Antiquities. It originally had four rooms, one of which was a small darkroom. When in due course, the dig-house was extended, Mallowan tells us that a room was added for Agatha 'where for a part of the morning she sat and wrote her novels quickly and straight on to the typewriter. More than half a dozen of them were written in this way, season after season.' M. Mallowan, Mallowan's Memoirs (London, 1977), p. 290

This ivory lion's head probably comes from a piece of furniture. The back is flat with a mortice for attachment, possibly to the front of a throne or corner of a table. It was found at Fort Shalmaneser, which was mainly excavated in the years 1958-63, when Max and Agatha had left and the field directorship had been handed over to David Oates, but the decision to excavate had already been taken in 1957.