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Viking Leisure Activities

Based on finds in Vikings grave sites it is very clear that Vikings were avid gamblers and game players.

Dice games have been around since antiquity, and we know that the Vikings also sought recreation and excitement in this way. Many of the Viking Age grave sites have uncovered dice cubes. These dice are sometimes large, long and rectangular in shape.

Gaming boards have also been a common find in Viking Age grave sites, as well as many play pieces for use in these games. Some of these games combined luck and 
performance.

The board game ‘Hnefatafl’ appears to have been special type war-game which was played all over Scandinavia during the Viking Age. It is known from many references in the Icelandic sagas as a game that required great skill. The rules for ‘Hnefatafl’ are unknown. Hnefatafl did not survive the advent of the game chess. Chess appears to have displaced ‘Hnefatafl’ as the game of choice for Scandinavians in the early Middle Ages. Caved walrus tooth chess pieces of Scandinavian origin are a common find from the 12th century onwards. The 12th century is widely regarded as the end of the Viking Age.

LastUpdate: 2015-04-10 11:10:18