Oldest Chess Piece :
Chess is one of the oldest and most popular games in the world which is still loved and played in almost every country.
Origin of Chess :
Chess was originated in ancient India at approximately 1,400 years ago. The game gradually spread its wings across the world during trade expansions of the countries in the 6th century AD as the trade merchants and diplomats from and around India carried the game with them for refreshing entertainment during their long journeys.
Chess began spreading from the westward of Asia. Subsequently from Arabia, Persia (Modern Iran), Spain and throughout Europe and across the world.
Oldest Chess Piece Discovered…
Between 1991 and 2000 in Humayma Excavation Project for Resources, History and the water supply system led by the Canadian classical archeologist, John Peter Oleson had successfully excavated some of the lost histories of the Humayma, it includes a Roman fort, 4 Byzantine churches, 2 farmhouses, and few campgrounds.
But what made this excavation project so special is that the team has discovered the oldest chess piece to date. Its studies show that it is a ‘rectangular-shaped sandstone object roughly the size of a palm and has 2 hornlike projections on top’ that is estimated to be around 1,300-years-old.
A small, rectangular stone, previously excavated at the Jordanian site of Humayma, maybe the oldest known chess piece, a rook dating to around 1,300 years ago…
Image: Bashar Tabbah/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0); J.P. Oleson
According to his research report presented at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research on 21st November 2019, the trade merchants and diplomats spread the game westwards gradually.
The chess piece was discovered and excavated in the site owned and ran by an Islamic family of Humayma which was once probably a major trade route between 680-749 AD. The researchers also found that the game was immensely popular in the Islamic world in the 6th and 7th centuries.
This widely-accepted game in the Islamic region also brought the people together with diverse backgrounds. The Islamic manuscripts depicted the times of chess matches between Muslims and Christians, the rich and poor of the region and also between the traders passing through this trading route.
The discovered archeological piece was confirmed as the chess piece only after the rigorous examination of it in comparison with the rooks and castles found at other Islamic sites in the region. The 2 extended projections on the top of the rook were probably meant to represent chariots.
The successful excavation project has paid-off with revealing the long-lost and forgotten history of the place and some invaluable discoveries along with the oldest chess piece that makes us rethink about the diversity of how a simple sport of entertainment has walked through the history of so many countries and its cultures and still exists to its fullest as one of the best indoor sports in the world.