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St Patrick's Isle Bone Die

Date made: 13th century

Description: This tiny dice, or die, is less than one centimetre across and is made from bone. It was found during archaeological excavations at Peel Castle and dates to the late 1200s AD.

The numbers are the same as modern dice, one through to six. This example shows the convention where the numbers on opposing sides add up to make seven – six is opposite one, five opposite two etc etc.

Dice were used in many games, both with boards and without. The games could be played at home, in taverns or in the street; sometimes just for fun, sometimes with wagers involved. Because the dice were so small they were easy to carry around, but they were also easy to lose. Perhaps this is how this die came to be buried on St Patrick’s Isle – or maybe it was thrown away by a defeated construction worker during his break from building St German’s Cathedral!

Measurements: overall: 0.8 cm x 0.8 cm x 0.8 cm

Materials: bone

Date found: 1984

Object name: die

Collection: Archaeology Collection

ID number: 1984-0016/29


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