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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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  • Description

    Broad and short sleeveless one piece tunic, mainly of undyed wool, now yellowed; two full-length tapestry shoulder stripes or clavi, each 9.5cms wide in purple-coloured and undyed wool. Design in clavi of undulating vine stems forming ogees enclosing dancing figures; at the sides, running animals - lions etc; wave borders. Side seams now undone-both sides finished with closing cords. Selvedges with selvedge fringes along hem. Horizontal neck opening formed by internal selvedges, corners strengthened by 3 double rows of twining. Traces of waist tuck at waist level. Extensively patched with cloth of similar quality."Coptic". Extensive patching probably modern but using cloth contemporary with the tunic.
    Materials: wool; Technique: weft faced simple tabby, tapestry, twining, closing cords, selvedge fringes; Warp: wool, undyed, tight S-spin, c. 10 ends per cm; Weft: wool, undyed and purple coloured, c. 22-30 picks per cm; Edges: two twisted closing cords ending in tassels, selvedges at hem reinforced with an extra plied thread forming loops, partly corded, selvedges at neck finished with sewn-on-plait; Sewing: original sewing of side seams and waist tucks now removed. Patches applied with double seams and waist tucks not removed. Patches applied with double seams - sewing here yet to be noted. (Details of cloth of patches also not noted).

    Sleeveless tunic; linen fragment; decorated in purple wool with vertical bands bearing an inhabited vine scroll motif. Vines form ogees enclosing dancing figures; at the sides are running animals; wave borders. Extensively patched with cloth of similar quality.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 9thC-11thC
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 147 centimetres
    • Width: 205 centimetres (excluding fringe)
  • Curator's comments

    Piece has been extensively restored prior to acquisition.

  • Condition


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  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


Sleeveless tunic; linen fragment; decorated in purple wool with vertical bands bearing an inhabited vine scroll motif.


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Object reference number: MCB1663

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