Research, Technology

Scientists unravel the mystery of stone balls found on the Greek islands

Between modern people and ancientcivilizations there is a huge gap - if we met, we could not find a common language. What the people of antiquity were doing would seem senseless to us, and they would not understand us either. For many years, archaeologists have found small stone balls in the settlements of the Aegean and Mediterranean. They still cannot understand for what purposes these products could be used. First of all, we can assume that this is a weapon. There is also a version that the mysterious balls were used to solve the simplest mathematical problems. Versions are interesting, however, they are not proven by anything. Recently, scientists from the University of Bristol put forward the most plausible version of the purpose of the stone spheres. What is it?

The solution to the mystery of stone balls turned out to be quite unexpected

Mysterious stones on the Greek islands

Mysterious balls of stone have been discovered onthe volcanic island of Thira, Crete, Cyprus and a number of other Greek islands. Usually they are found in several pieces, and all that can be said about them is that they have an almost perfect spherical shape and easily fit in the human palm.

Mysterious stones are found on almost all Greek islands

The mystery of the spherical stones of Greece

There are at least two plausible assumptions about the function of spherical stones.

The first version says that these are shells for slings -an ancient throwing weapon that was used both for military and hunting purposes. Considering that their size is great for throwing long distances and dealing damage, this is a very plausible option. In addition, in the photographs you can see that some spheres have chips - they could have been the result of an impact.

Throwing weapon sling

The second version is that the ancientthe inhabitants of the Greek islands may have used small stones for keeping score or records. Indeed, with the help of stones it was possible to count anything, from the days of the week to the remaining food.

Part of the stones found by scientists. Actually there are thousands

Previously scientists from the University of Bristolcarefully studied the stones they had. They noticed that there was a difference in size between them, but things did not go further than this - the work was postponed. Recently, anthropologists Christianne Fernée and Dr. Konstantinos Trimmis decided to go further and studied the characteristics of 700 stones found on the island of Thira. During the Bronze Age, the ancient city of Akrotiri was located on it, the excavations of which have been ongoing since 1967.

See also: The most amazing finds of archaeologists that everyone needs to know about

Discovery of a new board game of antiquity

All stones that can be up to 4500 years oldyears, smaller than a golf ball and have a different color. It turned out that they all fit perfectly in size into the recesses on large stones, which were also previously found on the Greek islands. There is clearly a close connection between these objects, and Dr. Christian Fernet believes that this is an element of some ancient board game. Based on this, the assumption about the combat purpose of the stones can be considered incorrect.

Previously, large stones with bowl-shaped recesses were found on the Greek islands.

Another example of notched stones

But the version that the stones couldused for counting, at least partly may be true. It is unlikely that these stones were game pieces, because there are too many of them. But the role of the elements for calculating the points scored is very suitable for them. The authors of the scientific work believe that they have found traces of another ancient board game. It is possible that it is similar to the ancient Egyptian game Mekhen, which is also known as the “Snake Game”. The Egyptians also played Senet - this is the oldest game, the mechanics of which is to move the chips on a special board.

Ancient Egyptian game Mekhen

Perhaps in the future, archaeologists will be able to collect allpieces of the puzzle together and even find out what the essence of the game was, which was popular among the inhabitants of the Greek islands. There is no doubt about its popularity, because spherical balls are found on almost every island.

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Board games existed among many ancientpeoples - this is known thanks to archaeological work. In September 2019, on the territory of the island of Lindisfarne (England), scientists found a small figure made of white and blue glass. It is believed that this is an element of the Scandinavian game "Hnefatafl", which was similar to the well-known chess. If you want to see what the found figurine looks like and learn the rules of the game of the ancient Scandinavians, read this material.