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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


Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas


+44 (0)20 7323 8041

Anthropology Library and Research Centre

+44 (0)20 7323 8031

The collection of the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas includes around 350,000 objects, representing the cultures of the indigenous peoples of four continents.

The scope of the collection is contemporary, archaeological and historical, and includes a large pictorial collection. It comprises most of Africa (outside Ancient Egypt, Sudan and the Mediterranean), the Pacific and Australia, as well as North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Most of the collections were acquired during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, though research and collecting continues today.

The Anthropology Library and Research Centre includes the Museum's Anthropology Library and provides access to information about its ethnographic collections, as well as an identification service; all enquiries are welcome.

Research facilities

AOA libraries

Anthropology Library and Research Centre 

10.00–17.00, Monday to Wednesday, Friday
12.00–17.00, Thursday
Closed: weekends, Bank Holidays and 24 December – 1 January

More about public research facilities 


Naming the Sowei mask

Before going on display, members of the Sierra Leonean community in London asked that they conduct a ceremony to give the mask a name.

Watch the video 

British Sign Language (BSL) videos

More BSL videos 

More content on our Channel 

Staff publications

Asante Gold Regalia

Asante Gold Regalia in the British Museum collection

220 items of gold regalia from the West African state of Asante in modern-day Ghana.

Asante Gold Regalia catalogue 

Recent publications

Curators and staff in the department regularly publish research on the collection.

List of recent publications by staff working in the department 

Curatorial staff

Lissant Bolton 

Polly Bence 
Curator: Oceania

Jago Cooper 
Curator and Section Head of Americas

Elizabeth Galvin 
Curator: African Rock Art Image Project

John Giblin 
Curator and Section Head of Africa

Julie Hudson 
Curator: North African Collections, Africa Programme Coordinator

Natasha McKinney 
Curator: Oceania

Gaye Sculpthorpe 
Curator and Section Head of Oceania

Christopher Spring 
Curator: Northeast, East and South Africa