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Mexicans find millennium-old game board

Archaeologists carrying out restoration at a site in the southeastern state of Campeche discovered a Mayan game board dating from more than 1,000 years ago, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said. 

The board, used in ancient times to play a game known as patolli, was discovered at the archaeological site of Dzibilnocac in Campeche, during restoration work conducted in the Central Tower Building A1 [Credit: Herbert Ortega/INAH]
A member of the team that found the artifact, Heber Ojeda, estimates the board was used between the 7th and 10th centuries during the Late Classic period of Dzibilnocac. 

It is possible that this patolli ("game" in Nahuatl) was used 600-900 AD, in the Late Classic period, when Dzibilnocac city which is located in the central part of Chenes region, had its heyday [Credit: Herbert Ortega/INAH]
"It is an esgraffito scoreboard of approximately 50 cm on each side, which was discovered on the floor of the second highest space" in the building denoted A1, the archaeologist said. 

Like the board-games located at other Maya sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, it was located inside the enclosure where access would have been difficult to watch the match [Credit: Herbert Ortega/INAH]
Etched into the surface of the board are 58 rectangles of varying sizes and players would have used beans as game tokens, Ojeda said. 

Expert Judith Gómora Gallegos, of the Tabasco INAH Center, in her discussion of a patolli discovered in Structure VII of Calakmul, Campeche, said that this game was described in codices, as well as Spanish chroniclers [Credit: Herbert Ortega/INAH]
One of his colleagues, Judith Gallegos Gomora, said the board was designed for patolli, a game of chance described in Mayan codices and colonial Spanish chronicles. 

From late November 2011 until mid-January of this year, Building A1, the best known of Dzibilnocac, underwent major maintenance work [Credit: Herbert Ortega/INAH]
She added, however, that the board bears a resemblance to the Maya quincunx, a schematic representation of the universe, and would likely also have been used for divination.  

Source: IANS [February 24, 2012]

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