Discovery of the Week week 32

NEWS | Published: 3.8.2009

Bone Die

This week´s discovery is a small die made of bone, the faces are numbered with bulls-eye spots. It was found in a soil layer that dates back to the 14th or the early 15th century.

The cubical die we know today has already been used thousands of years and its appearance has not changed much after the Middle Ages. Nowadays the faces are numbered so that the opposite faces always total 7. This die is not made in the same way: the opposite numbers are 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6.

From the very beginning, dice have been used in gambling and other various games. They might also have been used in fortune-telling. Before the cubical die became common, people used particularly animal bones, but also e.g. rocks, shells or nuts as dice.