Ancient Board Game Piece Discovered

Ancient Board Game Piece Discovered

The BBC reports on the discovery of an ancient board game piece, unearthed during an excavation in England:

A 7th Century board game piece, the first discovery of its kind for 130 years, has been unearthed in Kent by University of Reading archaeologists.

Researchers believe the hollow bone cylinder found at the Lyminge dig belongs to an early backgammon or draughts-type games set.

It was found in the remains of an Anglo-Saxon royal hall where board games were traditionally very popular. The Lyminge piece, which is the first to be found in a "gaming setting", includes a central bronze rivet.

Common board games of the time were latrunculi and tabula, the aim of which was to capture the opponent's pieces.

Both came to England in the 5th Century during Anglo-Saxon migrations.

The find, which has been called "wonderfully evocative", really makes you wonder what life was like in 7th century England, and how board games fit into people's lives.

Was gaming an everyday occurrence, or was it reserved for special occasions? Was it a family activity, or solely for adults? How were the game pieces crafted? At what cost?

So many questions!

Image courtesy the University of Reading.

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