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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

    Helmet, mahiole, made of basketry made from ie'ie. Pattern in brown on natural colour.

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 18thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 31 centimetres
    • Width: 16 centimetres
    • Depth: 28 centimetres
    • Height: 8 centimetres (of crest)
    • Width: 10.5 centimetres (of crest)
  • Curator's comments

    Beasley collection register: 'Collected by Mr. E. Bell, one of the crew of Vancouver's expeditionary ship about the year 1793, and by him presented to H.C. Shelley who passed it on with other specimens to the United Services Institute, Whitehall. Purchased from the Institute through Col. Hughes, Librarian.'

    See J.C.H. King, 'Vancouver's ethnography: a preliminary description of five inventories from the voyages of 1791-95', Journal of the History of Collections, Vol.6, No.1, 1994, Oxford University Press, p.55


  • Bibliography

    • Cox 1988 pp.36-41 bibliographic details
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Beasley collection number 2588 - catalogued 15.7.1930.

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 2588 (Original Beasley Collection 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: EOC19789

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