Well, it’s our last week for a little while and it all ended on a rather dodgy note.
And here it is.
What a sorry specimen. It’s little more than a chip off the old die. I had just over half of the 6-face and a sliver of a couple of other faces but that’s it.
And then I turned it over…
The first thing to notice is that hole. It lines up with one of the 6 pips, which is odd. The maker has drilled a hole in the die and then covered it over with a dot-and-double-ring pip on the surface. Hmmm.
Then there’s that grey stuff. It looks like a tooth-filling. Is it lead? Hmmm.
The other clue that there is something iffy about this die is the weight. Although it’s just a tiny scrap, it weights as much as some other complete dice that we’ve had. Hmmm.
It’s a dodgy die, later known as a ‘Fulham’. The maker has hollowed out a little space inside the die and then filled it with with a weight (possibly lead, but I’ll try to find out what this substance is). This would influence the outcome of throws, perhaps increasing the chances of ‘high’ or ‘low’ throws. Naughty people.
And this brings me on to what we will be doing next. These dice have all been really interesting, but so far we only know a limited amount about them. They’ve been removed from their contexts. We don’t know much about where they were found, what they were found with, or even their dates. We’ve had ‘Roman’, but ‘Roman’ in Britain covers 400 years! Can we narrow that down a bit? We also need to know what, if anything, the conservators made of these objects. What did they think that grey stuff is?
This will be an ongoing task which Guy John and I will be working on over the summer. I’ll post anything of particular interest but for now I’ll leave you with his fantastic little gaming scene from the Bardo in Tunis.