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The ancient Egyptian board game was used to talk to the dead 3,500 years ago

An ancient & # 39; board game of death & # 39; Egyptian that was played similarly to modern Ludo was used to communicate with the deceased about 3,500 years ago.

The game, senet, was played at all levels of Egyptian society from its appearance 5,000 years ago until it lost popularity some 2,500 years later.

However, some 700 years after it was first played, the game acquired a spiritual component, with ancient texts that hinted that it was believed to offer a link to future life.

Now, an expert believes he has found a senet board in the midst of this change, possibly one of the first times the game described the soul's journey to paradise.

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An ancient & # 39; board game of death & # 39; Egyptian that was played similarly to modern Ludo was used to communicate with the deceased about 3,500 years ago. In the image, the curious blackboard from the collections of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California.

An ancient & # 39; board game of death & # 39; Egyptian that was played similarly to modern Ludo was used to communicate with the deceased about 3,500 years ago. In the image, the curious blackboard from the collections of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California.

Based on excerpts from ancient texts, archaeologists think that Senet was probably a game for two players, each with five pawns that move around the board, which featured a grid that was ten squares wide by three down.

The players would probably throw a dice form to see how far they could move a pawn each turn, the first one moving the five pieces to the end.

Each of the pawns would move to the right along the upper row, back to the left in the middle row and then to the right in the lower row, ending in the thirtieth and last square in the lower right corner of the grid

The penultimate four squares presented symbols that probably had a special meaning: it is believed that these were perhaps an equivalent of & # 39; missing a turn & # 39; or & # 39; go to jail & # 39; in modern board games.

When the game first appears in the archaeological record about five millennia ago, there is nothing to suggest that it served as more than a form of entertainment.

However, about 4,300 years ago, and the art of ancient Egyptian tombs began to show images representing the dead senet playing against living opponents.

Experts think that Senet progressed from essentially being an old version of ludo to something closer to an Ouija board, a conduit through which the living could communicate with the dead.

In fact, the texts of the next thousand years describe the game as a reflection of the passage of the soul through Duat, the Egyptian kingdom of the dead.

In mythology, Duat is where souls were judged, in the “ weighing of the heart & # 39; & # 39 ;, and those who passed this test could move towards the heavenly paradise of Aaru, also known as the “ Field of Cañas & # 39; & # 39 ;.

The game, senet, was played at all levels of Egyptian society from its appearance 5,000 years ago until it lost popularity some 2,500 years later. In the image, Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses II, appears representing Senet in a work of art in her grave.

The game, senet, was played at all levels of Egyptian society from its appearance 5,000 years ago until it lost popularity some 2,500 years later. In the image, Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses II, appears representing Senet in a work of art in her grave.

The game, senet, was played at all levels of Egyptian society from its appearance 5,000 years ago until it lost popularity some 2,500 years later. In the image, Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses II, appears representing Senet in a work of art in her grave.

In mythology, Duat is where souls were judged, in the & # 39; weighing of the heart & # 39; (pictured), and those who passed this test were allowed to move towards the heavenly paradise of Aaru, also known as the & # 39; Campo de Cañas & # 39;

In mythology, Duat is where souls were judged, in the & # 39; weighing of the heart & # 39; (pictured), and those who passed this test were allowed to move towards the heavenly paradise of Aaru, also known as the & # 39; Campo de Cañas & # 39;

In mythology, Duat is where souls were judged, in the & # 39; weighing of the heart & # 39; (pictured), and those who passed this test were allowed to move towards the heavenly paradise of Aaru, also known as the & # 39; Campo de Cañas & # 39;

Along with the changing importance of the game, the senet panels also underwent design changes that began about 3,300 years ago.

For example, the three simple vertical lines found in the forty-eighth square of the first senet boards began to be replaced by hieroglyphics of birds, a representation of the soul, a feature that would persist until the game's decline 2,500 years ago.

Archaeologist Walter Crist, from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, believes that a senet board that is in the collections of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California, may reflect the early stages of game redesign.

Archaeologist Walter Crist, from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, believes that a senet blackboard (pictured) found in the collections of the Rosicrucian Museum of Egypt in San Jose, California, may reflect the early stages of the redesign of the game.

Archaeologist Walter Crist, from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, believes that a senet board (pictured) found in the collections of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California, may reflect the early stages of the redesign of the game.

Archaeologist Walter Crist, from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, believes that a senet board (pictured) found in the collections of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California, may reflect the early stages of the redesign of the game.

He believes that the board dates back to around 3,500 years ago, and notes that the grid has an atypical and inverse design in which the start square is placed where the end is normally.

He believes that the board dates back to around 3,500 years ago, and notes that the grid has an atypical and inverse design in which the start square is placed where the end is normally.

He believes that the board dates back to around 3,500 years ago, and notes that the grid has an atypical and inverse design in which the start square is placed where the end is normally.

Although the wooden board does not contain the hieroglyph of the soul, square twenty-seven has seen its traditional mark & ​​# 39; X & # 39; replaced by the hieroglyph for water.

This may have represented a lake or a river that was believed that souls found on their dangerous journey through Duat.

The Rosicrucian Relic & # 39; may be one of the first times that this aspect of the journey through future life is displayed on the board & # 39 ;, said Dr. Crist Sciences.

He believes that the board dates back to around 3,500 years ago, and points out that the grid has an atypical and inverse design in which the start box is placed where the end is normally, and vice versa.

This style is exclusive to the Middle Kingdom period of ancient Egypt, which extended from about 4,000 to 3,700 years ago.

The board also features symbols in the twenty-sixth and twenty-ninth tables that, according to Dr. Crist, are not completely religious or completely secular.

The origin of the Rosicrucian board is not clear, however, it is believed that the device was probably marketed in the antiques market in the 19th century.

The change from a secular to a religious meeting is in line with the typical evolution of the games, with long periods of stasis and sudden alterations, archaeologist Jelmer Eerkens told Science. In the image, different Senet plate designs from its 5,000-year history

The change from a secular to a religious meeting is in line with the typical evolution of the games, with long periods of stasis and sudden alterations, archaeologist Jelmer Eerkens told Science. In the image, different Senet plate designs from its 5,000-year history

The change from a secular to a religious meeting is in line with the typical evolution of the games, with long periods of stasis and sudden alterations, archaeologist Jelmer Eerkens told Science. In the image, different Senet plate designs from its 5,000-year history

The change from a secular to a religious meeting is in line with the typical evolution of the games, with long periods of stasis and sudden alterations, Davis archaeologist Jelmer Eerkens of the University of California told Science.

"This is different from what we expect for other types of technologies," he added, noting that objects such as pots tend to evolve their designs gradually and steadily over time.

This makes the Senet Rosicrucian board, a snapshot in the middle of the evolution of the game, an especially rare find.

The full study findings were published in The Egyptian Archeology Journal.

Experts think that Senet progressed from essentially being an old version of ludo to something closer to an Ouija board, a conduit through which the living could communicate with the dead. In the image, an elaborate game of Senet with a sliding drawer, inscribed for the pharaoh Amenhotep III, which is believed to date from around 1390-1353 a. C.

Experts think that Senet progressed from essentially being an old version of ludo to something closer to an Ouija board, a conduit through which the living could communicate with the dead. In the image, an elaborate game of Senet with a sliding drawer, inscribed for the pharaoh Amenhotep III, which is believed to date from around 1390-1353 a. C.

Experts think that Senet progressed from essentially being an old version of ludo to something closer to an Ouija board, a conduit through which the living could communicate with the dead. In the image, an elaborate game of Senet with a sliding drawer, inscribed for the pharaoh Amenhotep III, which is believed to date from around 1390-1353 a. C.

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