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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 Franks Casket


The Franks Casket

Front

View of end

View of end

Back

Back

View of end

View of end


Length: 22.900 cm
Width: 19.000 cm
Height: 10.900 cm

Given by Sir A.W. Franks
Britain, Prehistory and Europe
1867,0120.1


This whalebone box is so beautifully carved that it must have been made by a skilled craftsman for an important person. Each side tells a different story from many places and cultures, clearly carved in pictures as well as written alongside in Anglo-Saxon runes.

This is a view of the front of the casket. Click on the picture underneath to help look at what is happening. The picture on the left is from a popular story about an Anglo-Saxon hero called Weland. Weland was a blacksmith who loved getting bloodthirsty revenge on his enemies. Here he is offering a princess a cup to drink made from her brother's head. Can you see the prince's body on the floor?

The right side shows the three wise men visiting the baby Jesus. Look for the word 'Magi' in runes above their heads.

Resources for teachers

Activities to investigate Weland the blacksmith, an Anglo-Saxon hero, and compare him to a modern day hero.

Download teachers' notes (35 Kb)

Download student activity sheet (43 Kb)