May 18, 2015

Ancient Gaming Artifacts Found in Utah Cave

Researchers exploring what is named Cave 1 in Utah have found dice, hoops, carved sticks and other artifacts related to gambling. They project they will find 10,000 more artifacts of this kind in the cave. The cave has already yielded butchered bison and elk bones and hundreds of moccasins. The artifacts date to the late 1200’s CE. The culture that lived there is called the Promontory Culture. These people left the Canadian Subarctic to migrate to the Southwest. Despite the turmoil and abandonment that was taking place at other sites at this time, the Promontory Culture was thriving. Dice was probably largely a womens game for personal property or chores. Men’s gambling was often a replacement for hostility between rival groups. Games were probably played with the nearby Fremont people. There are stories of men losing everything, food, their clothes, and losing their family as slaves, even their own scalps. There is a die made from a beaver tooth that came from the Oregon coast, indicating wide spread trade relationships. A spiral incised stick is similar to ones found in British Columbia. Many of the artifacts bear the imprint of their Arctic origins.

Western Digs has a very complete report with many photos here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Moundbuilders/Ancient Southwest News on Tumblr

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Southwest/Mound Builders News Magazine

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