A fascinating find in southeast Turkey from around 3000BC was revealed this week: a collection of board game pieces of different styles/functions found together (image below and original story from Discovery News).
Small carved game pieces found together at Başur Höyük
This adds weight to the evidence of game playing using boards and counters in the region during the early bronze age – the earliest example being Senet from predynastic Egypt, with more elaborate boards and counters found in the royal cemetery of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia, also dating from around 3000BC; while the still-played Go (or Wei-qi) appears in Asia in around 2000BC. This is, though, the first evidence of a collection of different game pieces (possibly indicating variation of roles in a game, or a variety of different games) collected together purposefully.
Today (26th July) is the third annual Day of Archaeology – a fabulous idea devised by Lorna Richardson (of UCL) and Matt Law (Cardiff University/ C & N Hollinrake Ltd.) back in 2011, and now curated by others including Daniel Pett of the (equally fabulous) Portable Antiquities Scheme.
The idea is a simple one: anyone who works in or around Archaeology, in any role, writes a short blog post describing their day. This year, as ever, it has created an incredible picture of the variety of roles influenced by Archaeology, and makes a compelling case for the usefulness and pervasiveness of the subject.
You can find my post here (with a puzzle to try, for those problem-solving readers) but have a good nose around all the posts – there are some great stories and surprises to discover.