Like everything else we make and use, gaming pieces form part of the archaeological record. I once had the pleasure of lifting a particularly fine set of 9th century hnefatafl pieces out of the ground. Now I have seen a set of 20th century mah jong pieces go into the ground.
The site of the burnt and demolished house near mine is now clean and ready for the new building planned there. But, as has often been observed, two important reasons that the archaeological record contains more small objects than large ones are that the larger ones are easier to find when you lose them and they get in your way if you leave them lying around intact. The mah jong pieces are in coarse sand with window glass outside the building’s erstwhile western wall. I tossed some of them together in a closer cluster and turned them over to expose the Chinese characters before taking this picture. One of them I gave to my wife, who identified it as the North piece.