August 16, 2013

Oldest gaming tokens from Başur Höyük

Oldest Gaming Tokens Found in Turkey
Small carved stones unearthed in a nearly 5,000-year-old burial could represent the earliest gaming tokens ever found, according to Turkish archaeologists who are excavating early Bronze Age graves. 
Found in a burial at Basur Höyük, a 820- by 492-foot mound near Siirt in southeast Turkey, the elaborate pieces consist of 49 small stones sculpted in different shapes and painted in green, red, blue, black and white. 
"Some depict pigs, dogs and pyramids, others feature round and bullet shapes. We also found dice as well as three circular tokens made of white shell and topped with a black round stone," Haluk Saglamtimur of Ege University in Izmir, Turkey, told Discovery News.
This is a nice illustration of people's familiarity with several abstract geometrical shapes for the purposes of gaming.


Unknown said...

Bullet shapes? They look like tiny menhirs to me.

Nirjhar007 said...

See this-

Onur Dincer said...

From the article:

"Significant differences emerged between the western communities of the Syrian-Turkish Euphrates Valley and the eastern settlements of the Al Jazira, the river plain of Mesopotamia which encompasses northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria.

In the western communities the urbanization process was halted, while clans with warrior leaders announced their power through complex funerary rites and burials rich with metal and weapons.

Meanwhile, the urbanization process continued in the eastern settlements with the development of a new culture called Ninivite 5. Like the Uruk culture, Ninivite 5 did not pay great attention to the funerary rites and burials were not particularly rich with artifacts."

It seems the difference between the western and eastern communities arose mainly as a consequence of the different patterns of social organization of the two groups. Apparently the western group of communities was more tribal while the eastern group was more individualist or state-oriented.

DDeden said...

The pyramids are tetrahedral (triangle base) rather than hemi-octahedral (Egyptian style square base).

Fanty said...

Pitty there is no numbers on em, otherwise the tretraed thingies could be dices like these: