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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


Money in Africa

the past and present
of a continent

Project leader

Supported by

The Leverhulme Trust

Arts and Humanities Research Council

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Cowries shells were a currency that linked West Africa to India and China for centuries
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    Cowries shells were a currency that linked West Africa to India and China for centuries

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    Ancient Egyptians weighed metal to facilitate exchange

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    Some of Africa's earliest coins circulated between the eastern Swahili coast, the Persian Gulf and China

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    Independence brought new national currencies, each revealing a vision of the past and future

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    Africa is now known as the frontier of innovative mobile banking

We commonly think of currency as something that came to Africa from outside - coins and banknotes brought by European colonisers. However, the continent has a long monetary history, going back thousands of years.

Africa’s monetary past and present are as diverse as they are neglected. Crossed by trade routes, expanding local states and migrant workers, and linked across oceans to the rest of the world, the regions of Africa have unique, interwoven monetary histories. This project aims to show how rich and complex the story of money in Africa really is.

Leverhulme research

Exploring the modern monetary history and cultures of English-speaking African countries.

This part of the project aims to create a richer picture of the adoption, use and adaptation of coins and banknotes in Africa to enable us to better understand how these objects can track political and cultural history as well as reflect tradition and innovation.

More about research on this project