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Royal Game of Ur
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THIS IS о n e of the oldest surviving board games in the world. The game is one of several with a similar layout found by Leonard Woolley in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. The wood had decayed but the inlay of shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli survived in position so that the original shape could be restored.

According to references in ancient documents, two players competed to race their pieces from one end of the board to another. The gaming pieces for this particular board do not survive. However, some sets of gaming pieces of inlaid shale and shell were excavated at Ur with their boards. The boards appear to have been hollow with the pieces stored inside. Dice, either stick dice or tetrahedral in shape, were also found.

Examples of this ‘Game of Twenty Squares’ date from about 3000 вс to the first millennium ad and are found widely from the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to India.

Royal Game of Ur


From Ur, southern Iraq, c. 2600-2400 вс
Ht 2.4 cm
W. 11 cm
L. 30.1 cm



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