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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


28 March – 29 September 2013

This exhibition is now closed

Sponsored by

Goldman Sachs logo

In collaboration with

Soprintendenza Speciale per I Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei logo

Recommend this exhibition

Ticket information

The exhibition is extremely popular and at times demand for tickets will exceed supply.

To give as many visitors as possible an opportunity to see the Museum’s exhibitions, a number of tickets are made available for purchase on the day. Consequently, with our most popular exhibitions large queues form to purchase these tickets before the Museum opens.

Frequently asked questions

Will I be able to buy tickets for today?

The tickets released each day are allocated on a first come first served basis. The tickets are in time slots of 10 minutes from 10.00 every day, seven days a week, with the exception of exclusive schools mornings. On busy days it may not be possible for all those wanting to see the exhibition to be able to purchase a ticket. Our team will advise you at the earliest opportunity if this is likely when the Ticket desk opens. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

How many tickets are released each day?

This will vary from day to day but at least 100 tickets will be made available for walk-up sale each day.

When does the ticket desk open?

The Great Court and the Ticket desk open at 9.00. The Museum’s galleries and the Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition open at 10.00 (with the exception of exclusive schools mornings). Hot and cold drink refreshments are available from the cafés in the Great Court from 9.00. Food and drink are not permitted inside the exhibition.

Are the queues less busy on other days?

The busiest days for the Museum’s special exhibitions tend to be Saturdays, Sundays, and the last fortnight of the exhibition but for the most popular exhibitions we can sell out every day.

May I purchase more than one ticket in person?

Yes, you may purchase as many tickets as you need. On busier days we may however have to limit sales to four tickets per person to allow an even distribution of walk-up tickets.

When will I be able to see the exhibition?

The first customers in the queue will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for any timeslot in the day, customers further back in the queue may find that the choices are more limited. The earlier tickets tend to sell quickly so if you are further back in the queue you may only have the choice to purchase tickets for much later in the day. It will not be possible to admit you at a time other than that printed on your ticket.

May I purchase a ticket for tomorrow, this weekend or next week?

No, all advance tickets are now fully booked.

Are there alternative ways of purchasing a ticket?

No, tickets released for sale on the day can only be purchased by visiting the Ticket Desk in person.

If I am successful in purchasing a ticket, how long may I remain in the exhibition?

You may remain there until the closing time of the exhibition on that day. The average visitor spends just over an hour in our Reading Room exhibitions. There is no re-admittance into the exhibition.

Will I be guided round the exhibition?

No, the exhibition is self-guided. Multimedia guides are available to buy on the day of visit at the exhibition entrance (£4.50 full price, concessions available). There will also be an App available to accompany the exhibition. Users will be able to explore the objects and themes of the exhibition, and immerse themselves in the life and death of the two cities (iPhone, iPod touch, Samsung SII and SIII, Google Nexus 4 £1.99 and iPad £3.99).

When should I arrive at the entrance to the exhibition?

Please arrive at the entrance of the exhibition at the time indicated on your ticket. It will not be possible to admit you before this time.

What time is last entry to the exhibition?

Last entry to the exhibition is 16.10 every day, except Fridays when it is 19.10. Please note should you book tickets for these times your visit time will be approximately one hour in the exhibition.

Please note

Bag restrictions

  • Only small bags will be allowed into the exhibition (max size 35x33x13cm)
  • Coats, umbrellas, etc. should be left in the cloakrooms (max size 40x40x50cm and max weight 8kg)
  • The cloakroom is to the left of the Main entrance. £1.50 per item (50p per umbrella)
  • When maximum cloakroom capacity is reached the Museum cannot accept any more items
  • The Museum reserves the right to search any bags or personal items being taken into the exhibition.

Photography, filming and mobile technology

  • The use of photographic or video recording equipment is not permitted within the exhibition
  • Please set your mobile phone to silent