hist-games: FW: Senet

Steve Sheets steve at midnightmage.com
Sat Oct 29 14:09:16 PDT 2005

I think you would be mistaken to call Senet "the oldest board game".   
There is no way to be sure of it, but many scholars think that that  
title should be held by Mancala (or other similar ancient "harvest  
bowl" games).  Many "boards" have been found at sites, engraved into  
stone. Some of these sites are from 5,000-7,000 years ago, much  
earlier than the Senet boards found in Egyptian tombs.  There is even  
one prehistoric cave site, with mancala-like arrangement of hollowed  
out dents (I leave you to decide if we can prove that this was for a  
board game). Go is also documented almost as far back as Senet, with  
hints that it is even older. Also, Backgammon and 9 Man morris have  
been found in extremely old locations, and might also be earlier than  
Senet.  Recently a extremely old Backgammon games was found in India,  
complete with dice, that would predate the Egyptian find.

We can say the "older surviving examples of board to play games" are  
the wooden Senet boards found in anceint tombs. It should be  
mentioned that when the boards were originally found, they were not  
sure what they were for, until a picture of some eEgyptian queen was  
found drawn on the walls of a tomb, showing her playing the game.  I  
would like to mention that we really have no idea how Senet was  
played. There are no rules recorded, nor is there a modern equivalent  
of the game.  Mancala, Backgammon, Chess and other games all have  
ancient forms that evolved into the games played now.  This is not  
true with Senet.

I would refer you to http://nabataea.net/games3.html as a good site  
with example of early games in stone. The 5000 year old Backgammon  
board is mentioned at http://www.laputanlogic.com/articles/ 
2004/12/011-0001-6358.html website.

Just some thoughts from an avid game player...

Steve Sheets
MageSteve at Mac.Com

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