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Bone or Ivory Dice (Die) from Caesarea Maritima


Hi, all.  Here is a very fine die from Caesarea M.  Any additional information would be appreciated.  Also, is there a way tell for certain if it is bone or ivory?  I have a microscope but I am not sure what to look for.  The opposite sides add up to seven, and the shape is a squashed cube with slightly rounded corners and imperfect symmetry (is that the correct term?).  Thanks for any ideas.  Jimi

Carved Bone or Ivory Die
Caesarea Maritima
1st-2nd Century CE?
Carved cuboid die with irregular dimensions,
slightly rounded corners, and incised marks
consisting of concentric circles around a central
dot.  Opposing sides add up to seven.  Sides
one and six are nearly square.  Sides two, three,
four, and five are roughly rectangular with various
imperfections.  One face is very slightly convex.
Fabric: Bone or Ivory?
Dimensions: 1.45 x 1.3 x 1.05cm.  Weight: 3.63gm.
Surface find Caesarea Maritima, 1971
(click for larger pic)

It is interesting how many genuine Roman dice are obviously irregularly shaped and therefore would not have worked in a fair manner.  One wonders if people did not know that they have to be even to be fair??

At a show in central Europe I saw a huge bag of fake Roman dice, all made from cow bone.  They were all perfectly cubic and had sharp corners.


Thank you, Shawn.  I guess as long as everyone in the game was using the same dice it was OK!  Apparently this type also always had the 1 and the 6 on the larger faces which were most likely to come up. 

Regards, Jimi


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