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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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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Ostracon, fragment from the body of a red-brown pottery ribbed vessel, fabric is black in section, with remains of twelve lines of Coptic text written in black ink on the exterior, smudged in places, and containing an order for payment.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 6thC-8thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 169 millimetres (max)
    • Width: 116 millimetres (max)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Remains of 12 lines of Coptic text written in black ink, smudged in places.
      • Inscription Translation

        Translation by W.E. Crum: "Give it to Apa Mine (Mena), from Apa Enoch. Be so kind and give 20 small 'lahe' of wine to Irene, the nun. Written 20th Mesore. Makes (total), wine, small 20. Lest you should be contentious, I have subscribed with my hand. Enoch, I consent. Written by me, Phoebammon"
  • Bibliography

    • Crum & Bell 1922 p.138 bibliographic details
  • Condition

    fair (text smudged in places)

  • 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 168 (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: YCA59107

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