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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


The cemetaries at Amara West

Vaulted brick superstructure (tomb G101)
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    Vaulted brick superstructure (tomb G101)

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    View over chapel and pyramid (tomb G112)

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    Ramesside door lintel re-used to block a burial (tomb G201)

The multi-chambered substructure of tomb G244’

The town is surrounded by two cemetery areas, Cemetery C to the north-east and Cemetery D to the north-west. As of 2014, 41 graves have been excavated in Cemetery C and 14 graves in Cemetery D. Geomagnetic surveys carried out in both areas suggest a markedly higher number of burials. In both cemeteries the earliest graves found so far date to the time period of New Kingdom colonial rule over Nubia, contemporary to the town site. With underground burial chambers used for the interment of up to 37 individuals, perhaps belonging to family groups, these graves conform to architectural models commonly found in other New Kingdom sites in Nubia and Egypt proper. The assemblage of grave goods, comprising a large amount of ceramic vessels, some scarabs and amulets evoking Egyptian gods and goddesses, together with burying the dead in painted wooden coffins also indicates a strong preference for Egyptian cultural markers. However, there is also evidence of survival of Nubian practices, best exemplified by a large underground chamber tomb marked with a burial mound, one of the central features of traditional Nubian funerary ritual. In Cemetery D, located on desert escarpment overlooking the town, three New Kingdom graves feature small mud brick chapels and pyramids, a typical characteristic of elite funerary ritual of that time period. Based on the grave goods recovered in the large rock-cut burial chambers of these tombs, they are assumed to be graves of officials serving at Amara West.

Both cemeteries continued to be in use throughout the 10th and 9th century BC until the emergence of the Napatan Empire in the 8th century BC. While funerary practices remained largely similar to the New Kingdom period, an increase in Nubian elements such as the use of funerary beds and occasional placement of individuals in a flexed burial position reflects a revival of indigenous Nubian customs. A shift towards smaller graves with burials in side niches during the latest phases of use of the cemeteries further indicates significant cultural changes.