This assumption is corroborated by the choice of animals used for the gaming boards. Certain cavities are differentiated by colored inlays, or motifs in the form of a rosette, or inscriptions denoting the stages in the evolution of the game. These boards were found with knucklebones at Susa and Tepe Siālk, but with no pegs unlike in Egypt, where zoomorphic sticks are well known and led to the game being called “Hounds and Jackals.” Most of the pegs, being made of wood, have perished. , 2-3, /-X (/ is a diagonal stroke, and X is a variety of the cross; no. The reduced size and the fact that the boards appear to have never been used for playing suggest that the gaming boards from Jiroft had been intentionally produced as grave goods. This 30th post is sometimes surrounded by additional holes. The 2 and 3 dots are variously arranged: 2 dots can be arranged either diagonally, as nowadays, or vertically, especially during the Sasanian period, whereas 3 dots can be arranged diagonally, or vertically, or in a triangle. 169 e-g, numbering 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, dated not later than 280 BCE) and from Masjed-e Solaymān (Ghirshman et al., 1976, pl. GMIS 208: black stone, numbering 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, Parthian; Idem, p. The movements of the counters, their being born off and reintroduced symbolize life, death, and resurrection.
Among the finds associated with the famous snake-board from Šahr-e Suḵta, two truncated cones can be identified as pawns (Piperno and Salvatori, 1983, pp. 7), whereas it is rather unlikely that the small plaques of different shape had anything to do with the game. The new finds from Jiroft testify to the fact that important characteristics of the backgammon board (rows of twelve cells divided into groups of six) had already been present around 2000 BCE.
Although the origin and history of backgammon are still poorly understood, it is clear that Persia played an important role in the early development of the game.
Another fragment from Susa without archeological context preserves only the last six fields of the central row with two marked fields. Thus the counters are of five different values, and it seems that such a distinction, which later was to characterize the game of chess, has been introduced here for the first time (Schädler, 1999). A second board of the same type, but more precisely cut, is preserved at the Swiss Museum of Games (Musée Suisse du Jeu) in La Tour-de-Peilz. The backgammon family of games followed a trajectory of its own, with its apparent origins in ancient Persia around 2000 BCE. A gypsum slab with up to thirteen holes approximately 1 cm deep and 1 cm in diameter has been found at the Neolithic site Čoḡā Safid in Ḵuzestān (Hole, 1977, p. Game sets are rarely found complete, which raises issues of identification: boards can be mistaken for a kind of abacus and vice-versa.
Strongly related to the “head-and-tail” type are the stone gaming boards in the shape of animals found at Jiroft. The obverse of the tablet is inscribed with a zodiacal divinatory diagram, and one would be tempted to interpret the five birds of the game and its central row of twelve squares in an astrological context. Among the game boards found at Jiroft, another type of game board, hitherto unknown, has come to light. Thus the structure of the board with its three rows of twelve fields divided in the middle into groups of six is identical to the Roman boards of a much later date for a game of the backgammon type, which was called “the (game of) 12 points” (Lat. The clay tablet with 3 x 8 dots on its surface, found at Haftavān Tepe in the Urmia basin in northwestern Iran (late Period VI B, 1900-1550 BCE), is interpreted either way (Burney, 1975, p.
Belenitskiĭ, “Obshchie rezul’taty raskopok gorodishcha drevnego Pendzhikenta v 1951-1953 gg.” (General results of the excavations at the settlement of ancient Panjikent in 1951-53), in , Oxford, 1983. Erdös, “Les tabliers de jeux de l’Orient ancien,” M. diss., Sorbonne University I, Paris, 1986 (unpublished).