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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



Sutton Hoo purse lid

Purse lid

Close-up of some garnet cloisonné

Close-up of some garnet cloisonné

Coins from Sutton Hoo

Coins from Sutton Hoo

Length: 19.000 cm

Gift of Mrs E.M. Pretty

M&ME 1939,10-10,2

The Anglo-Saxons liked to show off their wealth as much as people do today. This is the lid of a leather purse which held 37 coins. It is the richest one found from this time, with gold and garnet cloisonné decoration. Can you see a man standing between two wolves and an eagle? These animals meant strength and courage.

The purse itself had rotted away, but the coins inside turned out to be crucial in setting a date for the burial. The latest date for the coins was AD 620, so the person was probably buried soon after this. This makes sense because at that time East Anglia was the most powerful kingdom in the country.

On display: Room 2: Collecting the world