A game board dating back more than 4,000 years has been unearthed in Oman by Polish archaeologists. As a matter of fact, it is “the most exciting and completely unexpected” discovery during their last research season as described by scientists from the Center of Mediterranean Archeology (CAŚ) of the University of Warsaw.
The discovery of the game was made during research that was being conducted at a settlement in the village of Ayn Bani Saidah, Oman, which dates back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. Professor Piotr Bieliński explained what happened next, “In one of the rooms of a large building from the Umm an-Nar period (2500-2000 BC) we found a game board!” adding that it was a rare discovery. The board, which was made from stone, contains depressions/cup-holes and fields which were marked on it.
In addition to the game, researchers made several other very important discoveries. The area in which the village of Ayn Bani Saidah is located is quite significant as it was a type of crossroads between Bat to the south, Al-Ayn to the north, and the sea coast to the east.
Professor Bieliński explained this further, “Along this route, there are several important settlements of the so-called Umm an-Nar culture from the Bronze Age. So we hoped that our position would also be in the same league.” Dr. Agnieszka Pieńkowska from CAŚ UW added, “The settlement from the Umm an-Nar period is unique, among other things, because there are as many as four towers in it: three round and one break. Despite its size, almost 20 meters in diameter, one of the round towers was not visible on the surface and was discovered only during excavations. The function of these towers is still waiting for clarification.”
Additionally, the experts uncovered evidence at the settlement of copper being processed there. These discoveries indicate that the settlement was incredibly important during that time and suggests that those living there were involved in profitable trading. “Oman was the metallurgical power of that era,” Professor Bieliński noted, adding, “This abundance of traces of settlement from different periods proves that this valley was an important place in the prehistory, and perhaps also in the history of Oman.”
Pictures of the excavation site and of the game board can be viewed here.