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History of Backgammon

Play The Game

The history of Backgammon is complex and the exact origins of the backgammon game remains unknown and dates back thousands of years. The ancient Backgammon progressed over thousands of years into the todays backgammon.

The Oldest

Archaeologists unearthed an old game dated to 3000BC in 2004 at the the city of Shahr-e Sukhteh or known as Burnt City which many have called the oldest Backgammon ever discovered. They have discovered a rectangular board made of ebony with sixty markers made from turquoise and agate, and an ancient dice (has four side to it). There is a snake engraved on the game board, coiling the snake twenty times (generating 20 slots). The pattern is really similar to number of board games discovered back in 2003 in Jiroft, those found in Jiroft are very creative and all dates back to somewhere from 2800 BC - 2200 BC [PW].

Also, as the archaeologist Jean Perrot has noted the lay-out of the "holes" on the Jiroft boards such as an eagle, scorpion etc is highly suggestive of the twenty squares game boards excavated by Woolley in Sumer, the so-called Royal Game of Ur. Other wooden boards have been found in the royal tomb of the Ur (the centre of Sumer) which it was the first board game discovered, and it was remained as the oldest backgammon for years until the discovery of the Burnt City, which has been dated to about 2600 BC along with dice and is known as The Royal Games of Ur.

The Game Rules

The rules for a ‘game of twenty squares' are mentioned in Babylonian cuneiform texts dating from 177 BC – 176 BC.