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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

 

Ancient Egypt


The el-Amarna Hoard


Length: 20.800 cm (largest piece)
Width: 1.950 cm (largest piece)
Thickness: 1.050 cm (largest piece)

CM 1974,0223.1


Before coins started to circulate in ancient Egypt around 500 BC, there was a system of values based on weights of gold, silver and copper. Metal measured in units of weight known as deben (around 90 g) could be used to settle bills and to trade. Records from the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1295 BC) show that often the actual metal did not change hands; instead it was used to value goods for exchange. Egypt had no easily accessible source of silver, but the Egyptian word for silver, hedj, came to mean something close to 'money'.

These ingots and metal rings date from the fourteenth century BC and were found at el-Amarna. They give us rare archaeological evidence for Egypt's earliest money system. The complete ingots weigh around 3 deben (265-286 g) and the rings seem to be fractions of the deben.