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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


Birger Ekornåsvåg Helgestad

Project Curator for the Ur Project

Department: Middle East 


+44 20 7323 8846

Dr. Birger Ekornåsvåg Helgestad has been employed as the Project Curator for the Ur Project at the British Museum since 2011.

He has a background in Art History and Near Eastern Archaeology. He completed his graduate studies at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London (PhD and MA), and his undergraduate studies at the University of Oslo (Cand.Mag.), and at the University of Copenhagen (BA). He completed his doctoral thesis in 2010. This thesis was titled Power Negotiations and Distributions of Knowledge: Glyptic Iconographies and Visual Media Strategies in Late Fourth Millennium BC. He has worked as an archaeologist and registrar on excavations in Syria and Turkey, and has also been involved in projects where he developed databases and web sites. He was the Sackler Fellow in Ancient Iranian Studies at the British Museum's Middle East Department in three periods between 2002 and 2006.

Previous projects

  • Birger was the Sackler Fellow in Ancient Iranian Studies in the Department of the Middle east at the British Museum three times between 2002 and 2006.