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Harappan Toys

Archaeologist Elke Rogersdotter, who was investigating the Bronze Age civilization at Harappa, has an interesting observation. Every 10th item found is related to play: dice, gaming pieces etc.

Repetitive patterns have been discerned in the spatial distribution, which may indicate specific locations where games were played.
“The marked quantity of play-related finds and the structured distribution shows that playing was already an important part of people’s everyday lives more than 4,000 years ago,” says Elke.

“The reason that play and game-related artefacts often end up ignored or being reinterpreted at archaeological excavations is probably down to scientific thinking’s incongruity with the irrational phenomenon of games and play,” believes Elke.“The objective of determining the social significance of the actual games therefore, in turn, challenges established ways of thinking. It is an instrument we can use to come up with interpretations that are closer to the individual person. We may gain other, more socially-embedded, approaches for a difficult-to-interpret settlement.”[Play was important – even 4,000 years ago]

The entire Doctoral dissertation is available for download.

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3 Responses to Harappan Toys

  1. Kedar February 28, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Some of these theses and papers… I read them.. and I go.. whats the point?

    Imagine a huge, ornate hall divided into two seating areas: invasionists and migrationists on one side and OOI theorists on the other side arguing boisterously.

    I, an english-medium educated hindu, am waiting outside the conference hall. Iam holding my copy of Rajaji’s Mahabharatha in english and arguing with myself which parts are later interpolations, which are exaggerations and how to interpret certain sections to make them more ‘palatable’.

    And then…

    Far away, I hear a cackling mocking laughter… I strain my eyes and see my guruji holding his stomach and laughing at my mental slavery of accepting the supremacy of western historical rigour.

    I look left and then right to make sure no one noticed that I was actually stupid enough to be standing at the door of that conference hall , and run without loooking back as fast as I can towards guruji.

    • Aadil March 4, 2011 at 4:44 am #

      Hi kadar,
      Archaeology is for really patient people and it requires lot of time and energy to find out bits of truth.Linguistics will always remain a bone of contention,you can see one passage in so many different perspectives that every point may seem equally appealing,that is very much a truth in the case of Pre-historic and Proto-historic periods.But the beauty of ‘Archaeology’ is that is does not make any comments on linguistic evidences and tries to concentrate on the material,which can not be distorted by any human interpretation.

      • Kedar March 5, 2011 at 7:49 am #

        Thanks for that explanation Aadil.
        Now, if you can spell my name correctly, which thankfully, isnt too long, I will thank you once more.

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