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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


Openwork ivory panel with lion

Ivories are so common at Nimrud they might almost be said to be a hallmark of the site. They all had to be carefully conserved, and as Max recorded, here Agatha came into her own:

'For the preservation of the objects and their treatment in the field, Agatha's controlled imagination came to our aid. She instantly realized that objects which had lived under water for over 2000 years had to be nursed back into a new and relatively arid climate. The 'Lady at the Well' [one of the ivories, now in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad] was therefore kept under damp towels for several weeks and we reduced the humidity day by day until she was accustomed to a drier atmosphere.'
M. Mallowan, Mallowan's Memoirs (London, 1977), p. 245

About cleaning the ivories, Agatha Christie herself says:

'I had my part in cleaning many of them. I had my own favourite tools ... an orange stick, possibly a very fine knitting needle - one season a dentist's tool which he lent, or rather gave me, and a jar of cosmetic face cream, which I found more useful than anything else for gently coaxing the dirt out of the crevices without harming the friable ivory. In fact there was such a run on my face cream that there was nothing left for my poor old face after a couple of weeks!'
A. Christie, An Autobiography (London, 1977), pp. 456-57