4,800-year-old dices discovered at Shahr-e Sūkhté (Burnt City)
Photo by Unknown
2,000-Year-Old Ancient Egyptian d20
Photo by Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York USA
4TH MILLENNIUM BCE
Dice is a pair of die that is used in gaming and gambling since the ancient civilizations, and it is one of the oldest game piece and earliest divination tool in history. The standard die consist of six sides with designs on each of the sides, and commonly comes in pairs hence it is mostly referred to as dice.
Dice are used in many traditional board games, and is one of the main aspects of modern game design. The earliest evidence of dice is archaeology portrayal of a game Senet in the 4th millennium BCE which required dice. These dice were made of bones and branches that had two to four marked sides (instead of six). (1)
The oldest physical dice are found in a dig site in Turkey dating back to early Bronze Age, these evidence indicated that dice games have been well established and popular in 3rd Millennium BCE. (2)
During the Roman empire dice is a popular gambling tool, and thus many Roman laws are related to dice gambling. These dice are made of bone, ivory, bronze, agate, rock crystal, jet, onyx, alabaster, marble, amber, and porcelain among other materials. The oldest 20-sided dice was found in Roman period Egypt, and it was made out of Serpentine. (4)
Cubical dice with equivalent marking of modern dice were found in Chinese excavations that dates back to 600 BCE, which suggests that dice games are well established in East Asian region. (5)
During the 17th century dice were subject to mathematical analysis by Galileo and Girolamo Cardano, and thus probability mathematics (statistics) is conceived. (3) During mid 20th century dice inventions through variation started to pop up left and right, with many different functionality and materials other than traditional gambling and gaming dice. (6)
Dice still remain as one of the core elements of any new age game design, and it is furiously popular in casinos and gambling. A great game with family and friends can start with just dice, a quick and fun way to pass the time!
The origin of games is one of the oldest human civilization lineage, spanning over millenniums of development to date. From archaeological evidence traditional games is one of the fundamental aspect of life in the ancient world, and is paramount to the development of social culture and military strategies. Many of these games became modern day family fun for holidays and occasions to enjoy.