If you’ve ever played the board game mancala, you’re in good company. In fact, you’re in historic company. Did you know the game has been entertaining people since the third century?
That’s one of many surprising discoveries researchers with the Israel Antiquities Authority recently learned during excavations for a new neighborhood in central Israel. Amanda Borschel-Dan with The Times of Israel shares the details.
At the central Israel town of Gedera, an Israel Antiquities Authority team has uncovered an impressive 20-bath spa and robust game room alongside evidence of 600 years of a massive ceramic industry.
Boards for still-popular games are etched into large stone benches at the 3rd century CE site. Among the game boards, the IAA archaeologists identified mancala, an ancient one- or two-player game using a board and seeds or marbles that is still an international bestseller.
“People are people and the archaeology reminds us that we’re not inventing the wheel,” said IAA excavation co-director Ella Nagorsky.