solve the puzzle! Weird stone balls are for an ancient Greek board game!

Mysterious ancient stone balls found across the settlements of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas may have been used in a prehistoric board game! A new study, aided by artificial intelligence (AI), examined features shared across 700 stones believed to be 3,600 and 4,500 years old, found in the Bronze Age town. Akrotiri On the volcanic Greek island of Santorini.

A prehistoric settlement from the Bronze Age Cyclades (3200 – 1050 BC) was destroyed in bull eruption Sometime in the 16th century B.C. it was covered in volcanic ash. Just as in Pompeii, volcanic ash was like antique preservative which has led to the discovery of beautiful frescoes, artifacts, and artwork since excavations began at the site in 1967.

“The exact use of such artefacts remains a mystery, and possible explanations suggest that they were some form of a counting system or counters. board games Write the authors of the new study.

Groups of ancient stone spheres from Akrotiri.  (Constantinos Tremis)

Groups of ancient stone spheres from Akrotiri. ( Constantinos Tremis )

Stones, stones, abundant ancient stone spheres

Archaeologists from the University of Bristol – Christian Vernet and Konstantinos Tremis from the Department of Anthropology and Archeology have published study On similar grounds just last year. To perfect their previous work, their new study was published in Journal of Archaeological Sciences: Reports which also suggests alternative interpretations of stone spheres – slingshots, tossing balls, to a counting/record-keeping system, or as counters/pawns.

Similar stones have been discovered in Cretein other Aegean islands, in Cyprus“They’ve all come out of the digs and people are always at a loss as to what the stones are,” says Dr. Trimmis.

The previous study showed that ancient stone balls differ in size, in specific groups, and groups of spheres, where there is some kind of coded pattern or game logic. This is when the adoption of AI and machine learning has been applied, with a desire to explore patterns with these areas, and see if that initial insight indicates something much more.

The stones are no larger than golf balls and are made of different colors and materials. There are also stone slabs with shallow cup marks (called kernos), indicating that this is where the balls were placed. In the end, two groups of large stones and two groups of small stones were classified separately in the analysis.

The kerno (cup mark) in the seat box and an explanation of how the balls are tied.  (Constantinos Tremis)

The kerno (cup mark) in the seat box and an explanation of how the balls are tied. ( Constantinos Tremis )

Board games: a competitive history

Dr. said. Vernier: “The most important finding of the study is that the balls fit into two main groups (one of the smaller stones and one of the larger ones). This supports the hypothesis that they were used as counters for a board game where it is likely that the balls were grouped to fit these groups rather than the counting system you would expect More groups.

The oldest known examples of board games in the world come from the Levant region and Egypt – specifically from Mahin and Egyptian Senet games. Senet was played as early as 3100 BC, when the First Dynasty was on its way out, according to A. Smithsonian Report , while Mehen was played somewhere between 3100 and 2300 BC. The Mehen declined with the fall of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, and thus its rules remain ambiguous.

Picture of an ancient Egyptian queen playing senet

An image of an ancient Egyptian queen playing a senet (“game of death”) from the burial chamber of Nefertari, wife of Ramses II. ( public domain )

These weren’t the only ancient board games – Roman legions passed by Ludus Laterncolurum , or “mercenary game”. The Vikings were playing Hneifatfl in Scotland, Norway and Iceland. in the East in India, Chaturanga which laid an interesting foundation for modern chess.

In 2013, the remains of the world Oldest game pieces It was discovered 5,000 years ago in southeastern Turkey, by a group of Bronze Age humans. That game, by the way, was an elaborate set of carved stones.

Dr. Trimmis put the game in a larger historical context, saying: “The social significance of the balls, as evidenced by the way they were placed in certain cavities, also supports the idea that the balls were part of a game played for social interaction. This gives new insight into interaction social in Bronze Age Aegean . “

They now plan to apply this methodology to the stone slabs, to find any potential assemblies in the cup marks. They also hope to use this AI to determine how the game is played, its rules, and how it compares to other games of the same era.

Top photo: Achilles and Ajax playing pessi, an ancient Greek board game. Mysterious ancient stone balls may have been used in a board game. Source: Egisto Sani / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.0 Update

By Saher Pandey

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