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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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spoon

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1981,0201.60

  • Description

    Duck-handled silver spoon (ligula or cignus) with the inscription VIRBONEVIVAS in the bowl. Oval, keeled bowl with an elegantly coiled handle and an inward-facing duck's-head terminal. The head is particularly skillfully modelled, with teeth, 'eyebrows' and other details picked out in niello, and the beak given an upward curve. The inscription, which has lost its niello infill, is also very neatly lettered.

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  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 98 millimetres
    • Width: 45 millimetres
    • Weight: 37.5 grammes
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        bowl
      • Inscription Content

        VIRBONEVIVAS
      • Inscription Transliteration

        vir bone vivas
      • Inscription Translation

        'Long life to you, good sir'
      • Inscription Comment

        this inscription has no parallel in the Thetford hoard.
  • Curator's comments

    For more details, and examples of parallels, see Johns and Potter (1983) 'The Thetford Treasure: Roman Jewellery and Silver' Cat. 60

  • Bibliography

    • Johns & Potter 1983 Cat. 60 bibliographic details
    • R I B II.2, 2420.47, pp. 139 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G49/dc23

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    1982-1983 8 Sep-10 Jan, Norwich Castle Museum, The Thetford Treasure

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1981

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1981,0201.60

Duck-handled silver spoon with the inscription VIRBONEVIVAS in the bowl.
Oval, keeled bowl with an elegantly coiled handle and an inward-facing duck's-head terminal. The head is particularly skillfully modelled, with teeth, 'eyebrows' and other details picked out in niello, and the beak given an upward curve. The inscription, which has lost its niello infill, is also very neatly lettered.

Duck-handled silver spoon with the inscription VIRBONEVIVAS in the bowl. Oval, keeled bowl with an elegantly coiled handle and an inward-facing duck's-head terminal. The head is particularly skillfully modelled, with teeth, 'eyebrows' and other details picked out in niello, and the beak given an upward curve. The inscription, which has lost its niello infill, is also very neatly lettered.

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Object reference number: BCB87862

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