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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


Pottery 'Palace Ware' jar

Pottery Palace Ware jar

View from other side

View from other side

Height: 3.000 inches

ME 1932-12-12,37

Life on the dig at Nineveh was very harmonious, which had not always been the case in Ur. Agatha liked the small house that acted as the expedition's base. It had a flat roof, a stone porch and a tower room that was occupied by her and Max. However, the furnishings were spartan, consisting almost entirely of empty orange boxes. Campbell Thompson had a thrifty streak, and when Agatha went to the Mosul bazaar and bought herself a solid table on which she could work with her typewriter, he considered the expense a wicked extravagance, even though she had paid for it herself. (In fact, Agatha always paid for her own board and lodging and her travel expenses, and she also supported the excavations as an anonymous sponsor.)

This is a typical example of Neo-Assyrian 'Palace Ware'. The fabric of Assyrian pottery vessels is usually quite coarse, due to large amounts of vegetable-based temper used in its manufacture. When the pottery is fired this material burns out, leaving tiny holes and crevices. Occasionally, however, the fabric is very thin, in which case it is described as 'Palace Ware'. The most common forms are bowls, though beakers and jars like this one were also made, with flared rims and dimples on the body. Potters made the dimples by pressing with their fingers. Finger-marks are visible in some of the depressions.

On display: Room 55: Mesopotamia