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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 British Museum currently has over 3,500 goldweights in its collection, which is one of the largest and most important in the world. A significant proportion of this collection will be made available in early 2014 in the form of an online research catalogue entitled West African goldweights.

Goldweights were predominantly made and used by the Akan-speaking peoples of the Gold Coast (now modern-day Ghana) to weigh gold-dust from AD 1400- to the pre-colonial period (before AD 1900). They were also closely associated with proverbs which encapsulated ideas about power relations, social hierarchy and spiritual beliefs. They were cast from brass in a wide variety of geometric and figurative forms.

Carefully chosen examples of each weight-type will illustrate the catalogue and introductory essays written by Dr Fiona Sheales will provide historical and contextual information. A large bibliography will also be included to enable users to continue research into this important African art form.

Sankofa bird brass goldweight

Sankofa bird brass goldweight – 19th century