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A centuries-old board game discovered in rocks in Africa

A centuries-old board game discovered in rocks in Africa

Mancala is one of the oldest board games in the world, and is still played today. During academic work in Kenya in 2021, an archaeologist from Yale University, called to an archaeological site, discovered the centuries-old Manqala plateau in the heart of one of the nature reserves in the African country.

In 2021, archaeologist Veronica Waweru, working at Yale University, was in Kenya studying prehistoric artifacts. At the same time, tourists made a serendipitous discovery in the center of the African country, inside the Liwa Nature Reserve. In a long press release published on 1any February,Yale University It details the astonishing circumstances that led an archaeologist to discover the remains of one of the world's oldest board games: mancala.

A thousands-year-old strategy game set in stone

While going to the report site in Lewa, Dr Waweru discovered twenty game boards, carved into stone. The hollows have been eroded over time, and show similarities to other Manqala plateaus found in the valley, generally in East Africa. The researcher's first observations allow her to confirm that the plateaus of the Liwa site have been in use for several centuries. While it is difficult to precisely date the Kenyan structures found in recent weeks, some of Africa's Manqala plateaus date back to ancient times. The first traces of this strategic game appear in Jordan around -5800 BC, and at the end of the Neolithic the game was exported to new regions thanks to commercial activities. In the Axum region of Ethiopia, some plateaus date back to the sixth centuryH And the seventhH century AD.

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Useful questions for Liwa Mancala

Veronica Waweru is now asking herself the question of what exactly the Lewa protractor is for. The site also contains 19 funerary cairns, raising the hypothesis of ritual use of the plateau. Discovery is also an opportunity to HistoriansHistorians To understand better movementsmovements Of the inhabitants of the valley, famous for hosting groups of shepherds for centuries, since the Neolithic era.