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Set of 5,000 year-old board game tokens found in Turkey

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Archaeologists working in southeast Turkey have unearthed a set of carved stones that may represent the earliest recorded gaming tokens dated at approximately 5,000 years ago.

The tokens were found at Başur Höyük, a burial plot in Turkey which dates from 3100-2900 BCE.

The 49 found pieces could help to back a theory that board games originated in the Middle East over five millennia ago, reported Discovery News on Saturday.

“Some [tokens] depict pigs, dogs, and pyramids, others feature round and bullet shapes,” Haluk Sağlamtimur, a researcher with Ege University who helped to uncover the tokens, told Discovery News.

Researchers also found dice and circular tokens among the pieces, which were painted in colors including black, blue, green, red, and white.

In the past, similar pieces have been found in both Syria and Iraq, but not as part of a set, Sağlamtimur told Discovery News.

“They were found as isolated, single objects. Our gaming pieces were found all together in the same cluster. It’s a unique finding, a rather complete set of a chess-like game. We are puzzling over its strategy.”