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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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whetstone / sceptre

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1939,1010.205.b

  • Description

    Iron ring, originally affixed to the terminal of whetstone or sceptre 1939,1010.160, surmounted by the model stag 1939,1010.205.a. The ring comprises four iron wires twisted individually in opposite directions, and held together at intervals by four copper alloy clips, two clearly fluted and two apparently plain. The ends of the wire ring fit into a hollow T-shaped piece which surmounts a small copper alloy pedestal.

    More 

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • early 7thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 10.7 centimetres (ring)
    • Length: 4.1 centimetres (pedestal)
    • Weight: 128 grammes
  • Bibliography

    • Bruce-Mitford 1978 Figs.245-247 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2004 1 Apr-30 Oct, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre, 'Between Myth and Reality'

  • Science

    See investigations 

    Analysis date

    4 March 1953 - 30 May 1973

    Reason for analysis

    Conservation

    Analysis title

    Large whetstone from Sutton Hoo

    Analysis outline

    Refix bronze cap and mounts after a mould has been taken of the stone and smaller end.

    Analysis of metal.

    Analysis materials group

    • Copper & Alloys

    Main type of investigation

    • Atomic Absorption
    • Emission Spectroscopy
    • Polargraphic Analysis
    • Radiography

    Analysis reference number

    PR00399

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1939

  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1939

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1939,1010.205.b

Stone sceptre or whetstone of square section  The ends terminate in lobed knops painted red, each knob enclosed by a cage of bronze ridged strips. At one end, the cage has six strips, and is attached to a cup-shaped piece of bronze.  The cage at the other end has eitht bronze strips.. This was surrmounted by the bronze stag (1939,1010.205.a) mounted on the iron ring (1939,1010.205.b). Immediately below each knob, on each of the four faces, are carved human masks in relief, with hair and beards radiating outward. They are approximately triangular, ending in curved oval terminals. Each of the masks is different.  All faces of the stone are extremely smooth.

Stone sceptre or whetstone of square section The ends terminate in lobed knops painted red, each knob enclosed by a cage of bronze ridged strips. At one end, the cage has six strips, and is attached to a cup-shaped piece of bronze. The cage at the other end has eitht bronze strips.. This was surrmounted by the bronze stag (1939,1010.205.a) mounted on the iron ring (1939,1010.205.b). Immediately below each knob, on each of the four faces, are carved human masks in relief, with hair and beards radiating outward. They are approximately triangular, ending in curved oval terminals. Each of the masks is different. All faces of the stone are extremely smooth.

Image description

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Object reference number: MCS11884

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