4,000-year-old board game found in Oman

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A team of experts from the Polish Center for Mediterranean Archeology and the Omani Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, led by Professor Piotr Belinski and Dr. Sultan al-Bakri, excavated the item near the village of Ain Bani Saidah in the Kumaira Valley in the east of the country.

“Such finds are rare, but examples are known in an area stretching from India and Mesopotamia to the Eastern Mediterranean,” said the European researcher.

The large board has square fields and indentations for the chips. Experts suggest that the game was inherently the closest to modern backgammon. Competitors threw dice to place their pieces on the boards and remove them from there before the opponent did.

However, this is only an assumption, since there is simply no reliable information about how the site could be used.

The artifact itself was found on the territory of an ancient settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. Archaeologists report that board games during this historical period were popular among residents of economic and cultural centers.

“The most famous example of a board based on this principle is the find in the graves of Ur,” said Professor Belinski, referring to the royal cemetery at an archaeological site in Iraq.

In the area of ​​the discovery of the object, the Polish-Omani team was engaged in excavations of an ancient settlement, where four rather large towers are located at once: three round and a corner.

One of them, which has a diameter of about 20 meters, was completely hidden underground. The purpose of these structures is still being investigated.

“We finally found evidence that copper was processed at this site, and we also found some items made from this metal,” Belinski said.

In his opinion, this fact proves the participation of the settlement in the trade of the goods in demand, for which Oman was famous in that historical period.

The copper of this state is mentioned in cuneiform texts from Mesopotamia.

The discovery was made as part of a large international project to explore settlements in one of the least studied parts of the sultanate – the mountain valleys of the northern Hajar range.

In this region, there are several settlements of the Umm al-Nar phase of the Bronze Age at once and a number of them – the Iron Age.

Excavations there have been under way since 2015, however, they have now been suspended for some time. Items already discovered are sent for study.

Previously hidden tombs dating from the Iron Age were also found in the Ibri region of the Sultanate of Oman last year.

Their discovery gave scientists the opportunity to confirm the existence of ancient trade routes in the region, the route of which passed between the coastal and continental regions of the peninsula and existed already in 300 BC.

Antique relics obtained by archaeologists allow you to learn new details about the life of the region in ancient historical eras.


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