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Thou sank’st my longboat!


There’s a paper out by Mark Hall of Perth Museum exploring the 36 ancient Northern European burials that have included board games. Two of the game burials were in the Orkneys, which were under Norwegian rule until Tudor times. I tried (and failed) to find the source paper online, not least because the article about it in the Scotsman was behaving oddly in my browser. Fair warning.

Two reasons, they speculate (I remind myself that any discussion of the reasons our pre-literate ancestors did things is always speculation). First, there was such a thing as gamer cred. Prowess at strategy games was regarded as a warrior skill.

Secondly, they wanted to keep the ghost entertained so he wouldn’t come back and mess with the living.

Eh. Who knows? The delightful chess pieces in the picture are real, by the way. They’re called the Lewis chessmen because they were found on a beach in Lewis, Scotland in 1831. Late 12th, early 13th C., carved from walrus ivory. There were 93 pieces found. It’s well worth following the link to read more and see them up close.

And with that, I’m off to play the vidya!

July 27, 2016 — 7:21 pm
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