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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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animal remains

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Spondylus bivalve shell, unworked.

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 10.8 centimetres
    • Width: 11.5 centimetres
    • Height: 5.9 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Vila Llonch 2013
    Seashells and land snail shells were highly valued throughout South and Central America. Traders carried a wide range from the Caribbean and Pacific coasts to highland communities. Conch shells were used for body ornaments and musical instruments, while some shells were crushed and ingested as part of ritual practices, and others were offered to the gods. The fact that shells were also cast in gold shows their importance and value to the ancient Colombian people.


  • Bibliography

    • Vila Llonch 2013 p.92 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    2013 Oct 17 - 2014 Mar 23. BM, ‘Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia’

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Am1871C0915.15
    • Am1871C1.7437 (old CDMS no.)
Shell made of shell (bivalve).

Shell made of shell (bivalve).

Image description



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Object reference number: ESA4586

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