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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


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  • Object type

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  • Description

    Ostracon, fragment of the body of a red-brown pottery ribbed vessel, the fabric is partially black in section, the interior is covered with a dark-brown resinous deposit, the exterior is covered with a red-brown slip and remains of five lines of Coptic text written in black ink, containing a receipt.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 6thC-8thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 103 millimetres (max)
    • Width: 84 millimetres (max)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Remains of five lines of Coptic text written in black ink.
      • Inscription Translation

        Translation by J. Cromwell [unpublished]: "Thoth 22. Tsanhor. Wine: 27 large measures. Johannes, camel-driver."
  • Curator's comments

    In this and several other receipts the camel-driver is named John. It is however doubtful whether the same person is concerned throughout. In 1923,0327.187 (O.Sarga 227) the name is "John the younger", in 1923,0327.190 (O.Sarga 228) "John the elder", and we also have a John on 1923,0327.174 (O.Sarga 351) or 1923,0327.121 (O.Sarga 354), a John 1923,0327.116 (O.Sarga 370), and a John on 1923,0327.118 (O.Sarga 121); 1923,0327.276 (O.Sarga 122); 1923,0327.277 (O.Sarga 385). These may conceivably all be the same, but the name was a very common one, and it is more likely that there were several camel-drivers called John.


  • Bibliography

    • Crum & Bell 1922 p.167 bibliographic details
  • Condition


  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1913-1914 by Reginald Campbell Thompson on behalf of the Byzantine Research Fund.

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • O.Sarga 225 (text edition abbreviation according to Oates et al 2001)
    • SB XVIII 13414 (text edition abbreviation according to Oates et al 2001)


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Object reference number: YCA61159

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