hist-games: FW: Senet
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/
Just some thoughts from an avid game player...
MageSteve at Mac.Com
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