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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

    Hollow sculpture (ancestor shave) made of pottery. Naturalistic human head with pronounced nose, downturned mouth and heavily lidded eyes. Gaunt features and raised eyebrows, protruding chin. Ears are roughly modelled, as is hair. Surface is blackened in places, otherwise buff coloured.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 20thC(late)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 14.5 centimetres
    • Width: 13.5 centimetres
    • Depth: 16 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Eth.Doc.153. Collection of the late Frank McEwen, first Director of the National Gallery of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) from 1957-73.

  • Condition

    Fair. Base of head is chipped.

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: EAF62573

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