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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 Medal


Anniversary MedalThe British Museum's Anniversary Medal

Gold medal of Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard England, about 1580-90

Gold medal of Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard England, about 1580-90

Pisanello's medal of John VIII Palaeologus

Pisanello's medal of John VIII Palaeologus


The sculptor John Maine has worked in many places around the world, including Italy, Australia and Japan, as well as in Britain. More used to working on a large scale - his Arena can be seen outside London's National Theatre - the relationship between sculpture and architecture is an important element in his work. He also acts as an official adviser on ancient buildings.

After the panel had chosen his designs for the British Museum medal, the artist went on to produce clay models, from which dies were produced by the Royal Mint. Medals are now being made in two different sizes. We will put a photograph of these in the tour as soon as they are available, and you will be able to purchase the medal online from the British Museum Company.

It is very appropriate that the British Museum should have commissioned its own medal, given that the Museum's collection of medals numbers some 70,000 pieces and is one of the finest in the world. It includes such rarities as Pisanello's medal of the Byzantine emperor John VIII Palaeologus of about 1438 and Nicholas Hilliard's medal of Queen Elizabeth I of England of about 1588 (see Other Views). Examples of the Museum's 250th anniversary medal will now find a place in its own collection.