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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


South Africa Landscape

Kew at the British Museum

Admission free  |  West lawn, Museum forecourt

Rock art

Rock art


Africa's rock art is the common heritage of all Africans, but it is more than that. It is the common heritage of humanity. Nelson Mandela

Related in the collection

Ostrich egg flask

On display in room 25

Engravings and paintings on rock faces, in caves and on portable objects such as water vessels reveal ancient peoples’ deep understanding and appreciation of the natural environment.

In South Africa, 60,000 year old fragments of decorated ostrich egg flasks have been recorded. This decorated ostrich egg flask was made by San people in South Africa.

The rock art of Africa makes up one of the oldest and most extensive records on earth of human thought.

Read more on the collection database



Rock art © David Coulson
Decorated ostrich egg water flask, made by San people © Trustees of the British Museum

Ostrich egg


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