Excavations at a burial site in south-east Turkey have revealed a set of 49 sculpted pieces that may once have been used in board games. They are among the oldest evidence of such games ever found.
Sağlamtimur, from Ege university in Izmir, Turkey discussed the finds at the annual International Symposium of Excavations, Surveys and Archaeometry in the Turkish city of Muğla. He thinks the pieces belong to some complicated chess-like game. His team now hopes to work out the strategies that the game must have involved.
Not so fast, says Ulrich Schädler, director of the Swiss Museum of Games in La Tour-de-Peilz. “Do the objects really all belong to one game? I would answer no,” he told New Scientist. “We don’t have the slightest trace of a board game using more than two different kinds of pieces before chess.” Early forms of chess were not played until about 1500 years ago. Read the entire article here.
Chess is believed to have first originated in Eastern India known as Chaturanga. The game spread from India to Persia and after the Islamic conquering of the Persian empire it was adopted by them and spread even further afield with it’s name changed to shatranj. The Islamic world then spread chess throughout Europe and then to Russia. On this link you can read more about the history of ancient games relating to chess.
Senet was played between 1550-1069 BC in Egypt. In the next image you can see a painting on the wall of Queen Nefertari’s tomb depicting her playing the game in the afterlife.
You can download this file for the rules of Senet
Image source here.
This game in the above image has been found painted on the funeral tombs of the rich and which shows a lion and an antelope playing the game of Senet.
According to the British Museum, it’s a scene from a satirical papyrus, possibly from Thebes, the Late New Kingdom, around 1100 BC.