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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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writing-box / model

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA35878

  • Description

    Model of a scribe's writing-box: made of wood, slightly worn and abraded. The rectangular chest has two feet, and is painted white, with red and black bands. The sliding lid of the chest is white with red bands at the two ends, and is shown open to reveal five papyrus rolls laid lengthways inside. On the open lid is the scribe's palette, painted in red and black. Beside it are the remains of a peg with which a circular object, perhaps a pot or another container, was attached.

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  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 3.1 centimetres
    • Width: 4.7 centimetres
    • Depth: 9.1 centimetres (max)
  • Curator's comments

    This is a unique depiction of how papyrus rolls were placed in chests for storage.

    The chest was presumably part of an elaborate model manufactured to be placed in an official's tomb, showing the tomb owner's scribes at work.

  • Bibliography

    • Parkinson 1999 56 bibliographic details
    • Taylor 2010 no. 139 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2010 4th Nov-2011 6th March, Round Reading Room BM, Book of the Dead

  • Condition

    fair (chipped)

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1868

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA35878

  • Registration number

    1868,1102.60


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Object reference number: YCA11089

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