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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 African Route (Timbuktu – Cairo – Mecca)

African route map

Matt Bigg

Cairo was a hub for pilgrims travelling to Mecca from North and West Africa. Pilgrims would travel together in great caravans for safety. The Hajj route from Cairo to Mecca rose to prominence in the Mamluk era (1250–1517). The Mamluk sultans ruled from Cairo and had control over the Hijaz and the holy cities. In addition to the pilgrims from Egypt, the convoys also included the Hajj caravans from North and West Africa.

The custom of the caravan is to travel much and rest little...except in some places where for respect of water they sometimes rest a day and a half to refresh themselves. Otherwise both man and beast would die.
Anonymous account, about 1575.

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council