Board Games and Wine Consumption

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Welwyn Garden City Iron Age Burial displayed in the British Museum © David Gill

I have been working on the spread of board games alongside the consumption of wine. Board games appear in the iconography of Athenian sympotic pottery from at least the sixth century BC. Physical board games appear in burials in the Po Valley from the late 6th century BC onwards, often placed alongside Attic sympotic pottery.

The appearance of a board games, with glass counters, in the Welwyn Garden City Iron Age burial (and now displayed in the British Museum) may be an extension of this earlier phenomenon. The burial itself dates to the late 1st century BC. Scholars have mapped the spread of wine consumption across western Europe through the distribution of wine amphorae. But are board games part of this cultural impact?

I am working on this project with my colleague Eddie Duggan who has published in this area (“Strange Games: Some Iron Age examples of a four-player board game?“, see academia.edu).

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Pieces from board games placed in the Welwyn Garden City Iron Age burial © David Gill

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