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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

 

Cosmetic grinders is the term given to a distinctive type of small, two-piece, crescent-shaped, copper-alloy set, found almost exclusively in Britain, and first identified by the author in the early 1980s (R.Jackson ‘Cosmetic sets from Late Iron Age and Roman Britain’, Britannia 16, 1985, pp. 165-92; R.Jackson ‘The function and manufacture of Romano-British cosmetic grinders: two important new finds from London’, Antiquaries Journal 73, 1993, pp. 165-9).

The earliest examples date to the late Iron Age, but the majority were made and used when Britain was a province of Rome.

The sets consist of a grooved mortar and a solid rod-like pestle and were evidently used for preparing very small quantities of a powdered substance, probably eye-shadow or other cosmetics. They vary greatly in size and in how elaborate they are, perhaps reflecting the importance of individuality in the selection of such a personal belonging. Bull heads are a favoured motif for the mortar terminals, while many suspension loops are modelled as stylised duck or swan heads. The sets are a key part of the artefactual evidence demonstrating the increased attention paid to personal appearance and the portrayal of self at this time. With almost 200 examples, the British Museum has an un-rivalled collection for display and study purposes.

Publications

Research Publication 181