Ludo-like Board Game Was Used To Communicate With The Dead In Ancient Egypt: Study

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A board game that can trace its origin back to Egypt was used as a means to communicate with the dead, according to a study published by Walter Crist.

Written By Vishal Tiwari | Mumbai | Updated On:
Ludo-Like

A board game that can trace its origin back to Egypt was used as a means to communicate with the dead, according to a study published by Walter Crist. The ludo-like board game, popularly known as Senet, was played on a board of 30 squares arranged in a three by ten pattern, usually constructed out of wood, faience, ivory, or a combination of these materials. As per Walter's paper, the board game was also called 'game of death' and after around 700 years of performing match till some 2,500 years ago, some texts have hinted it towards giving a hyperlink to the afterlife. 

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Ancient ludo-like game

Walter Crist, an archaeologist at The Netherlands' Maastricht University has reportedly claimed that he has identified a senet board, which was used for playing the game of death. According to Walter's paper published in Academia journal, a previously unpublished board in the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, California, may provide new insight into the evolution of the game in the early New Kingdom. Walter in his paper stated that the board likely dates to the Eighteenth Dynasty before the reign of Hatshepsut, a period to which no other games have previously been securely dated. 

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Walter further added that the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, California had the wooden senet board in its collection since1947, but the board was not included in the two most comprehensive catalogues of senet boards published to date. Nothing is known about the archaeological context in which the board was found. According to Walter's paper, the Rosicrucian Museum acquired the object, along with nine playing pieces, at Spink and Son, Ltd in London on 1 August 1947.

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The author, Walter Crist received his PhD in Anthropology from Arizona State University. His doctoral thesis examined changes in the social context of senet and mehen in Bronze Age Cyprus as social complexity increased. His research focuses on how the social element of play facilitates cultural and economic exchanges, particularly in the Mediterranean, Near East, and Egypt. 

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