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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


Designs by John Maine


Among the drawings for the medal produced by John Maine were these designs for its obverse (front) and reverse, and also a Braille version of the obverse. The square, the circle and the triangle of the British Museum 250th anniversary medal suggest the simple geometry underpinning the culturally diverse objects within the collections of the Museum.

On one side, the implied cubic form encircled by the border of the medal evokes an object within the museum's care; such objects have been at the core of the museum's activities for 250 years. The geometry here is built on the square and the diagonal, with ninety and forty degrees predominating. The oblique forms are illusory, for the square itself is frontal, framing the square hole in the centre.

The underlying pattern of the other side is a grid of equilateral triangles, within which a circle is squared. The design presents a further allusion, to the spectacular roof of the Great Court and thereby to the present and future of the Museum.