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Rare Viking Board Game Piece Found

Rare Viking Board Game Piece Found
Representative Image: Hnefatafl board game , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This is the second one to be discovered off the British Isle

OT Staff
March 19 , 2020
01 Min Read

Researchers have found an old board game piece dating back to 1,200 years, from the era of Vikings.

The old board game piece has been found on an island off the coast of northeastern England. The piece is thought to be from a Viking board game, Hnefatafl, or “King’s table”, which bears some resemblance to chess. The game piece is made of white and blue glass, featuring white glass droplets forming a crown, and is the size of a small sweet. 

The game, a strategic one, bears close resemblance to a Vikings raid and has enjoyed a renewed interest in Nordic countries that have later gone on to produce contemporary forms of the same.

A team from Durham University and crowdfunding archaeology organisation DigVentures found the piece on a site in Lindisfarne, a tiny island that holds huge religious and cultural significance.

The rare piece was found at a site in Lindisfarne

Experts think it dates back around 1,200 years originating sometime in the 8th or 9th centuries—which also coincides with Viking raids on Great Britain.

The island of Lindisfarne was raided by the Vikings in the year 793 for their well stocked wealth and supplies and scarcely defended buildings. 

This piece is the second such glass piece discovery to be made in the British Isles. 

According to media reports, the discovery of this piece shows the busy and vibrant lifestyle of Lindisfarne, which differs from the idea of simplicity that is often associated with medieval Christianity. 

Currently, it can’t be deduced whether the piece was dropped by the Vikings or owned by somebody else. Inferences from the high quality of the piece and the dating of the ditch place it around the time of the initial Viking raids. 

Earlier excavations on the island had located a cemetery and at least one building. However, the team now has found various objects from the early Viking era, including the game piece discovered in a ditch.


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