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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 from the body of a red-brown pottery vessel, fabric is grey-black in section, interior spotted with a resinous substance, exterior covered with a red/brown slip and remains of nine lines of Coptic text finely written in black ink, containing an order for payment.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 6thC-8thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 128 millimetres (max)
    • Width: 109.5 millimetres (max)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Remains of 9 lines of finely Coptic text written in black ink.
      • Inscription Translation

        Translation by W.E. Crum: "Give it to Apa Mine (Mena), from Apa Enoch, his father. Be so kind and give 3 'phores' of wine and 15 small 'lahe' of wine to my brother John, the . .. . smith. Makes (total), wine, large 3, small 15. Written 1st Thoth, 3rd fndiction. Enoch (2), I consent. Written by me, Phoebammon".
  • Bibliography

    • Crum & Bell 1922 p.140-41 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 171 (text edition abbreviation according to Oates et al 2001)


If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: YCA59128

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