Ancient Dice

By
Jennifer Torres
Jennifer Torres is the Collections Technician of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. Her primary duties include the rehousing and photography of the museum’s collection. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, where she received her B.A. in Anthropology and Classical Studies in 2013. In 2015, she received her M.A. in Museum Studies with a concentration in Collections Management from the George Washington University.

Just like in modern times, games were a popular pastime in antiquity. Children, women, and men alike played games for their own amusement using gaming pieces that are very common today. For example, dice made of ivory, bone, or ceramic were commonly made and used for games that involved counting. Similarly, the ancient game of knucklebones used small gaming pieces that sometimes were tossed like dice and scores were calculated. However, unlike the modern game of dice, the side of the die that landed on the surface was the number that counted. 

The image below shows some of our collection of ancient dice that were recently rehoused.

For more information about gaming in antiquity and to learn more about the game of knucklebones, check out these links!

http://archaeologicalmuseum.jhu.edu/…/childho…/knucklebones/

http://archaeologicalmuseum.jhu.edu/…/t…/knucklebone-player/