These carved pieces may be the oldest known gaming pieces, according to Ege University's Haluk Sağlamtimur. Discovered in a "a 820- by 492-foot [burial] mound near Siirt in southeast Turkey," the pieces date back to the Bronze Age.
"Some depict pigs, dogs and pyramids," Haluk Sağlamtimur of Ege University in İzmir, Turkey, told Discovery News. "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,"
According to the archaeologists, similar stones were found in what's now Syria and Iraq, but as single stones, so they were believed to be used for counting. In the burial mound, 49 small stones were found together.
The find confirms that board games likely originated and spread from the Fertile Crescent regions and Egypt more than 5,000 years ago (Senet from predynastic Egypt is considered the world's oldest game board). The tokens were accompanied by badly preserved wooden pieces or sticks. Sağlamtimur hopes they'll provide some hints on the rules and logic behind the game.
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