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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

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Fragment from the shoulder and neck area of a tunic. Mainly undyed linen, roundel and clavus in dark bluey-purple wool, details in linen. Roundel filled with repeated linked octagons and framed with serrated leaves. Clavus with stripes of simple lozenges and half-lozenges on either side of a narrow stripe of stylised leaves. "Late Antique".
    Materials: linen and wool; Techniques: simple tabby, tapestry on grouped warp threads, soumak outlining, self-bands, twining; Warp: linen, S-spin, c. 26 ends per cm; Weft: linen, S-spin, c. 12 picks per cm, wool, S-spin, c, 60 per cm; Edges: all cut (except for internal selvedges at neck, hidden by repairs); Sewing: in linen thread, closing slits at sides of roundrel, repairing torn neck; Additional Info: self-stripes along inner edge of clavus; twining for 8.5cm on either side of the neck opening. In centre of clavus, warp in places on surface.

    Textile fragment, possible from the neck and shoulder area of a tunic. Undyed linen and dark blue/purple wool; with woven border and oval motif in purple. Roundel pattern filled with repeated linked octogons and framed with serrated leaves.


  • Culture/period

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 45 centimetres
    • Width: 62 centimetres
    • Width: 28 centimetres (roundel across)
    • Width: 6 centimetres (clavus across)
  • Exhibition history


    1997 15 Oct-1998 30 Apr, Italy, Rome, Fondazione Memmo, Ancient Faces

  • Condition

    Good, a little damage to float brocading.

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • 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


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Object reference number: MCB3068

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