Drawings of Anglo-Saxons

ANGLO-SAXON DISCOVERY

Drawings of objects

Games

In their spare time the Anglo-Saxons liked to play games. They played several different types of games.

Dice drawn by Victoria age 10

Victoria age 10

Dice Games

Archaeologists have found dice in Anglo-Saxon graves, like at Asthall Barrow. They were made of bone or antler.

We do not know exactly what type of games were played with dice. Games such as who can roll the highest or lowest number were probably played. It is also possible that the Anglo-Saxons would have gambled on the outcome whilst playing such games.

Board Games

Gaming pieces, which were made of bone, pottery, glass or stone, have been found in numerous Anglo-Saxon graves. However the boards the games were played on are rarely found since they were made of wood which rots in the ground. A few boards have been found in Britain and Scandinavia which give us clues as to the sort of games which were played.

Game board drawn by Alen age 10

Alen age 10

One such game is Nine Men's Morris, which is a relatively simple game of strategy. It is a game that is still played today.

Some of the game boards archaeologists have found had one game on one side and another on the other side. Another board game that has been found on such boards is Hnefatafl. This is a more complicated strategy game using boards that could vary in size from seven squared on each to up to nineteen.

Riddles

Word games were also played by the Anglo-Saxons. A very popular game was creating riddles. One person would create or recite a riddle and the other players would have to guess its meaning.

Anglo-Saxon riddles often had double meanings. The riddles could also be very short - just a few lines - or very long - several hundred lines.

Many Anglo-Saxon riddles have survived because they were written down.

Can you create your own riddles?