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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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brooch

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    Am1999,04.5.a-d

  • Description

    Set of four brooches [a-d] made of thick silver (from coins), of domed oval shape with scalloped edge and dsign radiating from centre where an oval cabuchon-shaped turquoise of dark green colour is placed. Design chiselled in, and stamped. Some of the brooches have traces of lettering.

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 1890-1900
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Curator's comments

    These brooches are known as 'manta pins' to denote that they were used to hold up traditional women's dresses or two piece blankets. The green colour of the turquoise is due to the fact that early turquoise was enhanced by annointing it with grease, often mutton fat to make it shine. Porous turquoise absorbs oil and therefore turns a green colour. The brooches seem to have been decorated only when poorly annealed implying an early date of manufacture. There is however a divergent view held by Lauris Phillips of Los Angeles who came to look at the collection in 2000. Phillips believed these concha to be somewhat suspect, and possibly forgeries made after the supposed date, however Phillips admitted that her identification could not be conclusive, because such objects had not been seen before. Subsequent to this some attempts were made to identify the silver, as there seem to be markings on the back, but consultation with the Department of Scientific research concluded that it would be difficult to diagnose early silver, from later in this case. This collection is to be viewed in conjunction with the collection Am 1998, 07 which is the other half of this collection.

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  • Condition

    good.

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1999

  • Acquisition notes

    Donated by Paul S. and Mary M. Bosley from Massachusetts, USA, through the American Friends of the British Museum. The collection, which is mostly housed at the BM as Am 1998, 07 and Am 1999, 04 was assembled in the late 1970s. This collection is to be viewed in conjunction with the collection Am 1998,07 which was bought through purchase

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number

    Am1999,04.5.a-d

Set of four brooches [a-d] made of thick silver (from coins), of domed oval shape with scalloped edge and dsign radiating from centre where an oval cabuchon-shaped turquoise of dark green colour is placed. Design chiselled in, and stamped. Some of the brooches have traces of lettering.

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Object reference number: ENA23278

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