1. bookVolume 16 (2022): Edition 1 (April 2022)
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Why so Serious? An Extraordinary Cone Shell Group from Mycenae and the Problem of Identifying Mycenaean Board Gaming Material

Publié en ligne: 26 Apr 2022
Volume & Edition: Volume 16 (2022) - Edition 1 (April 2022)
Pages: 51 - 93
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License
Format
Magazine
eISSN
2183-3311
Première parution
15 Dec 2016
Périodicité
1 fois par an
Langues
Anglais
Abstract

In 1974 in Room Θ3 of House Θ in the Southwest Quarter of the Mycenae citadel, an extraordinary find came to light: 545 conus mediterraneus ventricosus shells were found together with 12 small objects in a crevice of the bedrock. 353 cones were intentionally pierced and ground, and 9 of them were filled with lead. This assemblage includes the largest collection of cone shells known from the Late Bronze Age Aegean, and it is now possible to attempt an interpretation of its use, after the publication of the Southwest Quarter excavation. The find is examined in detail, in comparison to other large cone shell groups from Mycenaean contexts. The facts suggest that the Θ3 assemblage artefacts could have been markers for a kind of game, for which games of strategy, skill and chance known in the Eastern Mediterranean, are suggested as possible candidates. Under this hypothesis, context finds from the Room Θ3 deposit are also examined. This study highlights the difficulty in identifying the material remains of board games, as well as the need to include the game – being a basic human activity- in the potential interpretations of archaeological records from the Mycenaean period.

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