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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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British Museum Society Tablet

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • British Museum Society Tablet
  • Description

    Clay tablet; record of beer; impressed with five different types of numerical symbol.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 3100BC-3000BC (between)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 9.4 centimetres
    • Width: 6.87 centimetres
    • Thickness: 2.3 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Comment

        Record of beer
  • Bibliography

    • MacGregor 2010 15 bibliographic details
    • Saggs 1995a p. 47, fig. 25 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Exhibition history


    2014-2016, AHOW loan tour, PROMISED

    2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'

    1990 15 May-29 Jul, Germany, Berlin, Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Frühe Schrift und Techiken der Wirtschaftsverwaltung im alten Vorderen Orient

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Purchased through auction of the Erlenmeyer collection in London at Christie's (lot 46). This tablet is to be known as the "British Museum Society" tablet on account of a substantial donatrion being made towards its acquisition by the British Museum Society (later Friends).

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


Clay tablet; record of beer; five different types of numerical symbol are used.

Clay tablet; record of beer; five different types of numerical symbol are used.

Image description



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Object reference number: WCT53323

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