Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Game Board Mystery

Medieval Mystery From The UK
By Stephen 13/12/2010 04:02:00

Archaeologists working through the Victorian spoil heaps at Creswell Crags in 2006 uncovered a stone with a familiar carved geometric pattern, it opened yet another aspect of the ever-developing story of the important prehistoric caves.

Creswell Crags located in Worsop, UK, represents one site among a significant cluster of cave sites inhabited during the last Ice Age in Britain. Archaeological and environmental evidence excavated from the caves show how the area witnessed dramatic changes in climate at the edge of the northern ice sheets and was populated by Ice Age animals such as hyenas, mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, and migrating herds of reindeer, horse and bison.

Archaeology investigations at the caves have uncovered stone, bone and ivory tools which date occupation to the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic era. In, addition archaeology have discovered 13000 year old engraved rock art figures of deer, birds, bison, and horse.

What makes this recent discovery at the caves so important is the piece of rock art discovered dates from the medieval period.

Experts from Sheffield University have identified the piece as an medieval example of the strategy board game Nine Men’s Morris, which had been popular since Roman times.

Each player has nine pieces, or "men", which move along the board's twenty-four spots. The object of the game is to leave the opposing player with fewer than three pieces or, as in draughts, with no legal moves left.

This discovery provided a glimpse into medieval activity at the Crags. But it also opened up a medieval mystery; how did the game get there and who had made it?

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