What just happened?

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


Across the Indian Ocean

Across the Indian Ocean map

Matt Bigg

The port of Jedda is the gateway to Mecca for pilgrims from South and Southeast Asia and Africa. They arrived in their thousands on dhows and steamships. Jedda has been the main port for Mecca since the mid-seventh century. Thousands of pilgrims arrived here from ports across the Indian Ocean, such as Bombay and Singapore, and from as far as China. Pilgrims also sailed to Jedda from southern Arabia and the Gulf and the main African ports on the Red Sea – Qusair, Suakin and Port Sudan. In Jedda the pilgrims were housed in hostels owned by religious foundations. They then set off eastwards to Mecca, a 40-mile journey by camel or on foot which took about two days. Today, Jedda airport is the main arrival point for pilgrims worldwide.

Dhows and steamships

Dhows and steamships in the Red Sea near Jedda. The Abbas Hilmi album, 1909. Durham University Library.

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council