11 September 2017
‘War-planning game’ could’ve been used to plan battle strategies
A powerful Viking military leader recently making headlines after being identified as a woman more than a century after being discovered was buried with one of her closest possessions: a board game.
As reported by Swedish outlet The Local, the 30-something warrior was originally discovered in the town of Birka at the close of the 19th century and was assumed to be a man for decades due to the equipment, weapons and two horses buried in the grave.
However, recent DNA testing has proved that the significant find was actually a woman who had almost certainly participated in battles and risen to become a mighty leader.
As well as a sword, axe, spear, shields and more buried with the nameless fighter, there was a board game discovered in her lap that archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson – who called the site the “ultimate warrior Viking grave” – said was “more of a war-planning game used to try out battle tactics and strategies”.
The original study, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, adds that: “A full set of gaming pieces indicates knowledge of tactics and strategy, stressing the buried individual's role as a high-ranking officer.”
We don’t know much more about the game itself, but something tells us it’s a little different to Risk or even recent Viking epics Blood Rage and A Feast for Odin. As for us, we’d probably choose to be buried with something like War of the Ring or Twilight Imperium – assuming there’s no shortage of gaming time in the afterlife.