Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Game in Looted Chinese Tomb

Chinese Cultural Relics
Chinese Cultural Relics / Chinese Cultural Relics

At the site of a 2300-year-old tomb near Qingzhou in China, archaeologists managed to make a unique discovery despite finding the place a little ransacked. According to LiveScience, the 330-foot-long burial area showed evidence of having been looted in the past; skeletal remains suggest one would-be robber may have never made it out of the tomb. But the thieves didn't take everything from the tomb, which was likely built for the Qi aristocracy. 

The archaeologists found a 14-sided die, 21 numbered pieces, and a broken game tile that is decorated with "two eyes, which are surrounded by cloud-and-thunder patterns." Researchers believe the artifacts were once part of a game called bo (also known as liubo), which has not been played in 1500 years.

Chinese Cultural Relics

Chinese Cultural Relics

The discoveries were part of a 2004 excavation by the Qingzhou Municipal Museum and Shandong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. The findings were originally published in the Chinese journal Wenwu in 2014, but the article was not translated into English until 2015 in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.

The exact rules of liubo have been lost to history, but the game is understood to have been similar to chess. There are ancient game sets in a few museum collections around the world, including China's Hunan Provincial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.