Pinterest • The world’s catalog of ideas

Some of the Lewis Chessmen may not have been chessmen at all according to new research. The 12th and 13th century gaming pieces which were discovered in Uig on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 are considered to be Scotland’s most renowned archaeological find. An article in the journal Medieval Archaeology by David Caldwell, Mark Hall and Caroline Wilkinson suggests that many of the 93 ivory pieces may have been used in a game called hnefatafl – an ancient Viking board game that pre-dates…

Hnefatafl - popular Norse board game. One side, the white pieces in this set, plays a thane defending a territory. The other side plays invaders. When Chess became more popular it was common to use one's Hnefatafl pieces as chessmen. The famous Lewis Chess Set is believe to be partly made up of repurposed Hnefatafl pieces.

Lewis Chessmen Berserker: according to Old Norse literature, berserkers were notorious as fighting uncontrollably in a trance like state. Notice how our Berserker has bulging staring eyes and angrily bites his shield ready for action!

Lewis Chess - Day 108 Viking Age chess pieces from the Isle of Lewis. Originals carved in walrus ivory. These are replicas from the British Museum.