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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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  • Object type

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  • Description

    [6a] Fragment from the neck and shoulder area of a sleeveless tunic, plain black wool, a) decorated with an applied band, b) and sewn-on coloured cords. The band runs along the shoulder, across the arm opening and pleated round the U-shaped neck. The yellow, red and green cords, used together, edge the band in places, and at the front and back of the neck and below the arm, form loops and lozenges. "Coptic"; warp is used vertically, fold on shoulders, selvedges at sides.
    Materials: wool; Technique: weft-faced simple tabby; Warp: S-spin, c. 15 ends per cm; Weft: S-spin, c. 30 picks per cm; Edges: selvedge along and below arm hole - reinforced outer cordeline, other edges fragmentary or cut; Sewing: mainly overcasting in S-spin, Z-ply green wool thread; Cords: wool S-spin, 4 cover 2 Z-ply.

    [6b] Band or ribbon of red wool, with brocaded decoration in undyed linen and (in border) yellow wool. Design of half lozenges with formalised bisected flowers at centre. On one side, narrow border with a string of small lozenges. "Coptic".
    Materials: wool and linen; Technique: extended tabby, brocading; Warp: S-spin, Z-ply, c. 16 ends per cm.; Weft: S-spin, c. 13 pairs per cm; Edges: two selvedges, cut ends turned under; Additional Info: brocading weft paired, in every shed, staggered binding points.

    Tunic; textile fragment of neck and shoulder area; the linen is dyed black with woven bands sewn on around the neck, along the shoulder and on one arm hole; edged in strands of twisted wool in green red and yellow.


  • Culture/period

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 62 centimetres
    • Width: 36 centimetres
  • Condition

    [6a] Poor, discoloured and fragmentary. [6b] Medium - in places linen perished.

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Collection purchased at sale on 6th Dec 1954, lots 154, 155 and 156.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


Tunic; textile fragment of neck and shoulder area, Coptic


Tunic; textile fragment of neck and shoulder area, Coptic

Image description



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Object reference number: MCB3268

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