hist-games: Hnefatafl material at Hedeby

Damian Walker damian at snigfarp.karoo.co.uk
Wed Aug 9 22:12:50 PDT 2006

Quoting Peter Michaelsen's message of Yesterday:

> one might add that hnefatafl was played in Haithabu/Hedeby near 
> Schleswig - pieces and board fragments have been preserved at the 
> Wikingermuseum Haithabu, where I saw them a few weeks ago - and 
> apparently also in the area of Oldenburg in Eastern Holstein, where a 
> set of pieces has been found.

I'd be very interested in learning more about the pieces in and board 
from Hedeby, if you, or anyone reading, has any information.  I know of 
two amber pieces and two bone pieces, one of the bone pieces being in 
the shape of a man.  I've seen pictures of these, but I've also seen a 
picture, captioned as finds in Hedeby, showing a great many more pieces 
and a fragment of board.

As for Oldenburg, I seem to remember mention of 37 pieces found there, 
but as with Hedeby I have very little information.  The number of pieces 
matches modern reconstructions for the 11x11 board (and some 
reconstructions for the 13x13) but I'd like to find out if there is a 
clear distribution of pieces between one side and the other (or indeed 
if there is an obvious king piece present).

I'm also told by a local archaeologist that there is a rich catalogue of 
gaming finds in Eastern Europe which is not widely publicised in the 
west.  The only thing I've seen relating to Hnefatafl is the mention on 
some web pages (and, I think, in at least one book) that the game was 
played in the Ukraine.

Damian - http://damian.snigfarp.karoo.net/

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