Skamby Gaming Pieces on Display


In 2005, a team led by myself and Howard Williams excavated a 9th century boat inhumation burial at Skamby in Kuddby parish, Östergötland, Sweden. The finest finds we made in the grave were a collection of 23 amber gaming pieces. These are extremely rare, the previous Swedish set having surfaced in the 1870s when Hjalmar Stolpe dug at Birka.

Now the County Museum in Linköping has incorporated the Skamby gaming set into its new permanent exhibition! The official opening takes place on Tuesday evening 3 June, at 6 pm.

I am very proud that our finds will be seen by so many museum visitors. Perhaps the annual LinCon gaming convention might schedule a visit? Says Lotta Feldt who curated the exhibit: “Your amber glows! They form a natural magnet in the exhibition.”

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  1. #1 pablo
    May 30, 2008

    Congratulations on all your hard work and the payoff.

  2. #2 Martin R
    May 31, 2008

    Thanks man! And we’ve got a big paper about the dig in the next issue of Medieval Archaeology.

  3. #3 RedMolly
    June 2, 2008

    These are gorgeous; and I was delighted to read, in a comment on your original post, that there’s a modern Hnefatafl set available from Usborne. My seven-year-old is going through a period of major Viking fascination right now, and this sounds just the ticket.

    Congratulations on your starring role in the exhibition!

  4. #4 owlfarmer
    June 2, 2008

    I found your blog via the sidebar in the latest issue of Seed. As a lapsed archaeologist (turned philosopher of technology) I don’t know how I ever missed the site, but am glad I found it. I’m especially interested in ancient board games, and have had humanities students design games based on ancient cultures. They’ll love learning about these pieces–and I can now send them to the post that explains it all. Thanks for an informative and fascinating blog.

  5. #5 Martin R
    June 2, 2008

    Thanks, Molly and Owly, warms my heart!

  6. #6 Dina in Jerusaelm
    June 7, 2008

    These are beautiful, what a find! Happy to discover your blog today. Shalom from Jerusalem.

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