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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

    Incomplete wrought sheet copper-alloy mount formerly placed lengthwise down the centre of a shield. The half-cylindrical spine swells into a near-circular boss that is profusely embellished with high relief ornament that is symmetrical about a diagonal axis. The high relief repoussé decoration comprises repeated abstract motifs which together can form hidden faces. Finely incised ornament set in variously shaped panels highlight the relief work; many of the incised details consist of extremely finely drawn minute spirals. The diagonal rib has been made wavy by punching along a sinuous line. The surviving termimal at the end of the shorter half-cylinder leading from the boss is ornamented with an anthropomorphic face in relief; the nose is embellished with finely drawn minute incised spirals. The eyes are in the form of coils. Running down either side of the mount, following its outline except at the end, is a broad flange through which rivets were passed at regular intervals to hold the mount onto its shield; seven of the rivets are preserved. Each is domed at either end; the rivets indicate that the shield was no more than 8mm thick.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 350 BC - 150 BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 370 millimetres
    • Width: 118.5 millimetres
    • Thickness: 0.9 millimetres (edge)
    • Weight: 169 grammes
  • Bibliography

    • Spratling 1972 320 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Exhibition history


    1964 24 Jun-14 Jul, Wandsworth Central Library, The Story of Wandsworth

  • Acquisition name

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: BCB49617

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