Gloucester, Gloucester Castle
Tables Set
c. 1090-1120

A set of thirty bone and antler playing pieces (six are illustrated) from a so-called 'tables (or tabula) set' found in excavations at Gloucester Castle. All thirty pieces are decorated with different designs, some recognisable, others less so.
Enough of the original bone plates from the playing surface of the board survived to show that it was also elaborate, and that the game played was a fore-runner of modern backgammon. The board and pieces were thrown into a rubbish pit at sometime before 1120, and perhaps as early as the 1090s, although the board may have been older than the pieces.
Dimensions (average): D. 44, T.7mm

(Information from Malcolm Watkins, Gloucester City Museum)

Bibliography :
Stewart, I. and Watkins, M., 1984. 'An 11th century bone tabula set from Gloucester', Medieval Archaeology 28, 185-90
Gloucester City Museum

(Photo: ©Gloucester City Museum)

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