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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

    Pottery ostracon.

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 6 centimetres
    • Width: 9.5 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

        one side
      • Inscription Comment

        Painted. 9 lines
  • Condition

    poor (destroyed by salt)

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    9 November 2005

    Treatment proposal



    Object fragile/ flaky/ crumbling, detached fragments. Heavilly salt damaged. Small fragments are being pushed off from surface, script is being disturbed, as yet still reaonably well preserved.

    Treatment details

    Removed salt crystals mechanically as far as feasible (brushes, tweezers).Consolidated object using a variety of concentrations of Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone), applied by pipette. Desalinated object by immersion in distilled water. Numerous changes of water until no significant rise of conductivity took place in freshly changed dist. water over a period of several hours (this occurred after ca one week). Left object to dry. Flakes originally held in position by salt pillars were now still being held in position by the empty PB72 shells that had formed around the salt crystals during consolidation. Carefully warmed the object with a hair dryer to a temperature just above PB72's glass transition temperature. Then, very carefully applied gentle pressure to flakes and pushed them back into their original position as far as possible. Reinforced adhesion between flakes and rest of object by introducing PB72 in various concentration in acetone by micropipette as necessary. Reattached detached fragments using HMG Paraloid B72 (methyl ethyl methacrlylate). Filled gaps with paste made from PB72, glassmicrospheres and acetone.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


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Object reference number: YCA8384

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