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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

 

Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World

Surviving treasures from the National Museum of Afghanistan

3 March – 17 July 2011Open late Fridays

Supported by
 Bank of America Merrill Lynch

 

All supporters

 

The hidden treasures of Afghanistan

At the heart of the Silk Road, Afghanistan linked the great trading routes of ancient Iran, Central Asia, India and China, and the more distant cultures of Greece and Rome.

The country’s unique location resulted in a legacy of extraordinarily rare objects, which reveal its rich and diverse past.

Nearly lost during the years of civil war and later Taliban rule, these precious objects were bravely hidden in 1989 by officials from the National Museum of Afghanistan to save them from destruction.

The surviving treasures date from 2000 BC to the 1st century AD and include opulent gold ornaments found at a burial site of a nomadic tribe, to limestone sculptures of a Greek city set up by a former commander of Alexander the Great.

The first exhibition of its kind to be seen in the UK in 40 years, this is a unique opportunity to discover the story of Afghanistan’s ancient culture, its immense fragility, and the remarkable dedication shown to its survival and protection.

Watch videos about the exhibition

 Afghanistan: returning ivories Play2:56

Returning ivories

The remarkable story of conservation and repatriation of the Begram Ivories.
Watch video

Listen to traditional music

Music of Afghanistan

Find out more about the diversity of regional music in Afghanistan and listen to excerpts played on traditional instruments.
Read more

Inlaid gold pendant

Image: Inlaid gold pendant from Tillya Tepe, 1st century AD. National Museum of Afghanistan © Thierry Ollivier / Musée Guimet