While excavating burial sites in Norway, archaeologists have found a board game played by the ancient Romans about 1, 700 years ago. Ludus latrunculorum - as it is called - consists of 19 parts, including oblong bones, which look more like writing instruments than the usual cubes we use today. This game was similar to chess, checkers or backgammon and forced players to compete in combat tactics. Unfortunately, the game board has not yet been found.
The site of Itre Fosse in western Norway, where the finds were made, contains artifacts from the Early Iron Age that date back to around 300 AD. It is located next to an important sea trade route known as "Nordwegen" (translated as "northern route" - it should be assumed that this is the origin of the name of the country).
According to archaeologists, the burial found here most likely belonged to a person with a high position in society. Other unearthed items - including pottery, bones, a bronze needle, and fired glass - support the idea.
“These status objects are evidence of contact with the Roman Empire, and the Romans were known to enjoy playing board games, ” says historian Morten Ramstad of the University of Bergen Museum in Norway. “People who play these games are the local aristocracy or the upper class. The game meant that a person has time, income and the ability to think strategically. "
The recovered parts of the game are made of bone and are relatively well preserved. On the elongated cubes, you can see small circles representing the numbers 0, 3, 4 and 5. According to scientists, the game could well be the predecessor of the Viking board game hnefatafl (king's table).