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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

 
Reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo shield, using original gold and garnet fittings and modern replica fittings on a modern wooden shield board. Original fittings used in the reconstruction are separately registered.

Museum number

1939,1010.94.K

Description

Full: Front

Reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo shield, using original gold and garnet fittings and modern replica fittings on a modern wooden shield board. Original fittings used in the reconstruction are separately registered.

© The Trustees of the British Museum

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  • Reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo shield, using original gold and garnet fittings and modern replica fittings on a modern wooden shield board. Original fittings used in the reconstruction are separately registered.

    Full: Front

  • Iron shield-boss from shield 1939,1010.94, placed centrally on the shield reconstruction. The boss comprises a large domed projection with a collar. 

The boss has an outer rim, or flange, set with five large gilt copper alloy bosses, or rivet-heads (registered separately as 1939,1010.94.K.2-6), equally spaced and each with a raised collar. Between the rivets are five panels of gilded copper alloy foil, stamped with identical zoomorphic designs. The collar of the boss consists of five narrow sheets of tinned copper alloy decorated with zoomorphic interlace. Above the collar, on the base of the dome, is a band of fine interlace on gold foil, from which project five animal heads, possibly representing dragons, pointing towards the centre, set at equal distances between the rivets. Between each of these heads, one of five different animal heads projects downwards from a decorative copper alloy band, also decorated with zoomorphic interlace, at the top of the boss. 

At the centre and top of the boss is a gilt copper-alloy disc-headed knop, upon which is an outer band containing a zoomorphic chip-carved pattern consisting of five creatures, each with one garnet eye. The centre of the knop is filled with a circle of cloisonné garnet inlay in step-cut cells. These two zones of decoration are separated and enclosed by borders impressed with a zig-zag pattern.

    3/4: Right