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Strange Games: some Iron Age examples of a four-player board game?
Eddie Duggan

A late Iron Age cremation grave, dated to the second half of the first century BC, excavated from a site in Welwyn Garden City, Hert- fordshire, contains an apparently unique set of glass gaming pieces. The gaming pieces are visually striking because of their distinctive appearance: the twenty-four opaque or semi-translucent colored glass domes (six white pieces, six yellow, six red and six green), each with adorned with decorative spiral motifs, seem to comprise a complete set of game pieces for what may be an unknown four-player game. They were found in a rich burial con- taining five Dressel 1B wine amphorae and an Italian silver cup, along with other grave goods.

Some account of the pieces is given by Donald Harden in Stead’s archaeo- logical report (Stead, 1967), along with a scientific analysis by Tony Werner and Mavis Bimson, based on spectrographic and X-ray examination.


Arnoaldi, Benacci, Board game, Bologna, British Museum, Celtic, Ceretolo, Etruscan,
Published: 2015/12/12
Received: 2014/06/30
Author Details
Eddie Duggan
School of Arts & Humanities University Campus Suffolk
Waterfront Building
Neptune Quay

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