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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.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Limestone ostracon: on both sides in black, drawings of pieces of furniture with name-markers and/or numbers.

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 11.3 centimetres
    • Width: 14.3 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        both sides
      • Inscription Comment

        Painted with name-markers and/or numbers. On both sides in black, drawings of pieces of furniture together with name-markers and/or numbers. (Demaree)
  • Curator's comments

    For similar representations of furniture with name-markers and/or numbers cf. O.Turin N. 57140, 57141 and 57523, O. Munich 398r. and O. Stockholm MM 14129.

    S. Birch, 'Inscriptions in the Hieratic and Demotic Character, from the Collections of the British Museum' (London, 1868), pl. VI;
    E. Brunner-Traut, 'Die altägyptischen Scherbenbilder', (Wiesbaden 1956), p.124 (mentioned only).


  • Bibliography

    • Demaree 2002 pl.45 bibliographic details
  • Condition

    fair (faded)

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    27 May 1986

    Treatment proposal

    Clean and repair, remove from surround.


    Sound, free from decay. In a wooden box which was really too small for the object. Dirty.

    Treatment details

    Removed from box which was dismantled by undoing screws. Cleaned using Draft-clean rubber granules. Successful. This method was used as pigment used for inscription was extremely fugitive.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • BS.5861 (Birch Slip Number)


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: YCA1453

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