In an abandoned castle in Germany, board games played by medieval nobility 1000 years ago have been found. Unique photos

Chessboard, game pieces and dice discovered in the castle. Source: Pixabay

Archaeologists have discovered a collection of medieval game pieces in a forgotten castle in southern Germany. The findings include a well-preserved chessboard, game pieces and dice dating back to the XI-XII centuries.

During the archaeological excavations, a perfectly preserved figure of a horse was found. The find is part of a unique collection of games that also includes other game pieces and dice. The University of Tübingen reported on the findings.

Well-preserved archaeological finds of chess pieces and pieces for other board games dating back to the 13th century are very rare in Central Europe. Chess came to Europe more than a millennium ago from the East, but pieces to play from the game's early years are extremely rare.

Laboratory analyses of paint residue show that one side played in red. Typical wear marks indicate that the knight was lifted, as it is today, during the move, indicating a remarkable continuity in the rules of the game.

"In the Middle Ages, chess was one of the seven skills that a true knight had to master. So it is not surprising that the known finds mostly come from castles," explained scholar Jonathan Sheshkevitz.


The discovery of a whole collection of games from the XI-XII centuries came as a surprise to experts, and the figure of a knight in the form of a horse was a remarkable discovery. The finds were made in an unknown castle in the Reutlingen area in the south of the German state of Baden-Württemberg during excavations. They lay under the rubble of a wall where they had been lost or hidden in the Middle Ages. The coating contributed to the fact that the surfaces of the finds are very well preserved.

Under the microscope, you can see the typical shine from holding and moving the pieces. In addition to the chess piece, four flower-shaped playing pieces were found, as well as a dice with six eyes. They were carved from antlers.


The eyes and mane of the 4 cm tall horse figure are vividly shaped. Such a complex design is typical of particularly high-quality chess pieces of this period. Remnants of red paint found on the flower-shaped pieces are currently undergoing chemical analysis. The researchers hope to learn more about the origin of European chess and the gaming world of the medieval nobility by carefully studying the findings.

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