Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Early Gaming Tokens Discovered in Turkey

Thursday, August 15, 2013

gaming-tokens-stonesIZMIR, TURKEYArchaeologists excavating at the early Bronze Age site of Başur Höyük in southeastern Turkey have discovered a burial with what might be the oldest gaming pieces ever found. Led by archaeologist Haluk Sağlamtimur of Ege University, the team unearthed 49 small stones, some of which depict pyramids and animals, along with dice. Unlike similar finds at other Bronze Age sites, the pieces were all found clustered together in groups of four, suggesting they were used in a very specific game based on that number. "It's a unique finding, a rather complete set of a chess-like game. We are puzzling over its strategy," says Sağlamtimur.