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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.

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pilgrim flask

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Brown pottery pilgrim-flask with circular body, the neck is damaged and one handle is missing, the exterior is covered with a grey-coloured slip. On each side, within a plain border, Saint Menas stands to front, flanked by camels, his arms outstretched in blessing. Above his arms on side (a) are crosses; on side (b) are groups of chevrons. He has curly hair, and wears a short tunic: his cloak is only visible in its drapery across the shoulders. The saint and the camels are so close, one to another, on both sides, that a single archetype must have produced their moulds, but the differing devices above the arms point to alternative manipulation of the moulds.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 480-650 (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 7.7 centimetres (max)
    • Width: 5.9 centimetres (max)
    • Thickness: 2.2 centimetres (max)
  • Curator's comments

    Terracotta IV
    Given by Greville J. Chester.

    Late Roman, about AD 480-650.

    Comparanda: Side (a): near: Metzger 1981: no. 53a, dated sixth to seventh century AD; Witt 2000: nos. 31 and 32, side A, dated end of fifth to mid-seventh century AD.

  • Bibliography

    • Terracotta 3429 bibliographic details
  • Condition

    fair (worn and one handle missing)

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number



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Object reference number: YCA68816

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