Split Appearance. Patchy and Coherent Features in Fragments of Gameplay, Mohenjo-daro, Sindh

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden


This paper centers on ancient, generally rather scattered and elusive remains of gameplay. Focusing on a discrete
assemblage of game-related artefacts from the Bronze Age Indus Valley urban settlement of Mohenjo-daro, it conducts
a detailed study of some of the patchy features to see whether more structured elements thereby can be distinguished.
The finds are approached situated in a broader, game-related context through a short recapitulation of findings at roughly
contemporary sites in Egypt, Western Asia, and Iran. Thereafter is intra-site, spatial features of the finds explored, as
well as particularities in appearance. While the playing of games is a rather universal human enterprise, its forms and
expressions may likewise be seen as highly sensitive to the specific, social environment and fluctuations. Because of this
intra-societal affiliation, identifying patterns of ancient gaming is suggested to contribute both to site-specific inquiries
and investigations of interregional distinctions and influences.