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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

    Snuff-box; black onyx; circular with hinged lid; underside of cameo frame, hinge and rims in gold; cameo: bacchante dancing holding tympanum; gold and enamel frame with representation of vine tendrils, grapes and blue riband; when closed outer rims carry band of stylised flowers in relief; mark on inside of lid; mark with number in shield.


  • Date

    • 16thC
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 7.1 centimetres
    • Height: 2.8 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Comment

        Within shield.
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        inside rim of lid
      • Inscription Content

  • Curator's comments

    Text from Dalton 1915, Catalogue of Engraved Gems:
    The stone is damaged at the top.
    Mounted in the lid of a snuff-box, and surrounded by a gold and enamelled border representing vine-tendrils and grapes.

  • Bibliography

    • Dalton 1915 130 bibliographic details
  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    7 February 1994

    Reason for treatment

    Permanent Exhibition

    Treatment proposal

    Remove tarnish


    No previous records retrieved. 1994 Slight tarnish CRE

    Treatment details

    1994 Polished using Goddards long term silver cloth. CRE

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


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Object reference number: MCN13950

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