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Archeologists Discover Medieval Board Game in Secret Castle Crypt in Russia

Press Service of the Vyborg Museum

Russian archeologists say they have unearthed a board game dating back to the medieval period in a newly discovered crypt of a castle in the city of Vyborg.

The rare find inside the 13th century Vyborg Castle, near the Finnish border, was uncovered during excavation works in a hidden chamber. A 3D model of the chamber suggests the crypt may have linked the castle with the city proper.

										 					Press Service of the Vyborg Museum
Press Service of the Vyborg Museum

The head of the Vyborg museum-reserve, Vladimir Tsoi, posted photos on social media of a fired clay brick with tracings of what looks like a Nine Men’s Morris game, thought to have originated over 2,000 years ago. In the checkers-like game, two players move pieces across a grid with the aim of reducing the opponent’s pieces to win.

“This is perhaps the most intriguing find at the moment [at the site],” Tsoi wrote on his Vkontakte social media page on Wednesday.

Last month, archeologists also found a purse with dozens of early 19th-century copper coins on the grounds of the Vyborg Castle.

Under Soviet and then Russian control since 1944, Vyborg was designated as a historic city in 2010. Local activists and international non-profits have warned that the historic center of the city of 79,000 is falling into ruin.

Last month, the $100-billion BRICS development bank agreed to designate 1.8 billion rubles ($26.5 million) on restoration works in Vyborg.

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