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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


19 July – 25 November 2012
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Supported by BP

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Part of the London 2012 Festival

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Recommend this exhibition

The morning after the Great Storm of 1987 I was making my way to the British Library when a sudden gust of wind lifted a cyclist off the road and dashed him headfirst into a brick wall. I went into a phone box to ring for an ambulance, then I sat with him as he drifted in and out of consciousness on the pavement, and did a drawing in his diary of where I had locked his bike.

When the ambulance had taken him away I stood up, shaking, and realised that my hands were smothered in scarlet blood. I looked up at some builders repairing scaffolding on a neighbouring site: “Is there anywhere I could wash the blood off my hands?” One of them called down “Try the bloke downstairs” and then added more sympathetically, “It’s all right, love, we know you’re not Lady Macbeth!”

Dora Thornton, London

Lady Macbeth