06 February 2020

Viking era board game piece

Found during a community-led archaeological dig on Lindisfarne.
Archaeologists believe the object, made from swirling blue and white glass with a small “crown” of white glass droplets, is a gaming piece [probably the "king"] from the Viking board game hnefatafl (“king’s table”), or a local version of the game.

Whether dropped on the island by a Norse raider or owned by a high-status local imitating their customs, the gaming piece offers a rare tangible link between Lindisfarne’s Anglo-Saxon monastery and the culture that eventually overwhelmed it.
A 3-D zoomable, rotateable view of the object is posted at Sketchfab.


  1. Followed your link to the 3D and from there to another post on the subject. That post gives a second perspective on the source of the piece: "“Many people will be familiar with Viking versions of the game, and I’m sure plenty of people will wonder whether this gaming piece was dropped by a Viking during the attack on Lindisfarne, but we believe it actually belonged to a version of the game that was played by the elites of Northern Britain before the Vikings ever set foot here,” said Lisa Westcott Wilkins, Managing Director of DigVentures." https://digventures.com/2020/02/stunning-1200-year-old-glass-king-gaming-piece-found-on-lindisfarne/

  2. British or Viking, I'm sure the loss of a game piece was just as irksome then as it is now. Probably more so considering the lack of a replacement being readily available seeing as how the Amazons hadn't established their mercantile yet.
    I can easily imagine a woman of the time being vexed because no one can seem to keep up with their belongings. "That's why we can't have nice things!"


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