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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

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  • Description

    Tomb wall-painting of scribes: a fragmentary tomb-painting on plaster. Comparison with other tomb-paintings indicates that this is part of a harvest scene, showing scribes assessing and recording the harvest. At the top and down the right-hand edge a green border is visible. To the left is the figure of a squatting scribe taking records of the harvest. Above him is his scribal chest, painted with a black and white design. On top of its sloping lid is a white roll of papyrus, and above this a wooden palette with reed pens in the slot, painted yellow to indicate wood. Behind the scribe an inspector sits on a pile of grain, now lost; he holds a staff and a bouquet of greenery as he watches his subordinates work. The scribes' linen costumes distinguish them from the workers in such scenes, who are shown as wearing only loin-cloths.


  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 30 centimetres
    • Width: 36.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The painting comes from the walls of an unknown Theban tomb, similar in style to, though not identical with, the mid-18th Dynasty tomb of Nebamen. It is generally well preserved, although the black paint has flaked off in several places.

    L. Manniche, 'Lost Tombs:A Study of Certain Eighteenth Dynasty Monuments of the Theban Necropolis' (London, 1988), 196 (location in the British Museum not then known to author).


  • Bibliography

    • Parkinson 1999 57 bibliographic details
  • Condition

    fair (incomplete)

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Lot 401 at sale.

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number



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Object reference number: YCA16688

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