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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

    Limestone ostracon: On the recto seven vertically written lines containing a fragmentary duplicate text of the 'Book of Kemit', IV On the verso one line of text, containing a fragmentary duplicate text of the Book of Kemit,V.

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 20.7 centimetres
    • Width: 26.5 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Comment

        Painted. One line of text, fragment of a duplicate of the Book of Kemit, V.
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Comment

        Painted. Seven lines of text, a duplicate of the 'Book of Kemit', IV.
  • Curator's comments

    For the text of the 'Book of Kemit', see G. Posener, 'Catalogue des ostraca hiératiques littéraires de Deir el Médineh' 1 (Cairo 1951); and A. Grimm,'Kmjf-Texte', in D. Kessler/R.
    Schulz, 'Gedenkschrift fur Winfried Barta' (Frankfurt am Main, 1995).

    S. Birch, 'Inscriptions in the Hieratic and Demotic Character, from the Collections of the British Museum' (London, 1868), pl. VIII.


  • Bibliography

    • Demaree 2002 pl.36-37 bibliographic details
  • Condition

    Fair (faded)

  • Associated titles

    • Title: Book of Kemit IV
    • Title: Book of Kemit V
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • BS.5641 (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: YCA1292

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