Roman counter culture: Gaming on the go

I haven’t been at the LAARC this week due to being on my travels but don’t think that I’ve forgotten the marvellous digitisation project.

At all the Roman sites I’ve visited I’ve been on the lookout for any gaming equipment. I thought that Glynn, Guy and John might be interested in having a look at it.

Unfortunately, although I have seen some very nice and interesting gaming counters, in Algeria photography is not allowed in most of the museums. I say ‘most’ because today I struck lucky. At the small but perfectly-formed museum at Setif it was possible to purchase a ticket that allowed photography 😀 . I managed to find just three counters in the museum (in a case full of Roman bone hairpins!) so here they are.

This one is a convex bone counter with a dot-and-ring design.


These next two are made from the vertebrae of fish!



After leaving Setif we visited the Roman city at Timgad, Thamugadi. Founded in the first century CE under the Emperor Trajan, this was a prosperous site housing veterans and civilians, with a large theatre, baths, temples and a library.
But of particular interest in the context of this post is this…


It’s a gaming board!

We had a go at playing, which involved selecting a hole as a target and then trying to pitch a small stone into it from behind the line. Obviously I was rubbish at it, but it was good fun.

I’ll post any more gaming equipment that I can but for now, “marsalama”.


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