Senet Game of Tutankhamun

The senet game board of Tutankhamun rests on a stand with animal-shaped legs attached to sledge runners.

The stand and sledge are made of ebony. The top and bottom surfaces of the board are veneered with ivory and divided into compartments by raised strips.

Senet Game of Tutankhamun
Senet Game of Tutankhamun

The game board has a drawer used as storage for the gaming pieces: pawns and knuckle bones of ivory and casting-sticks of black ebony and white ivory.

The upper side of the board is divided into 30 squares for the game; the object of which was to safely navigate all the pieces off the board, while preventing the opponent from doing the same. The reverse side of this game board is laid out for another game that has only 20 squares; it is unclear how this game was played.

The senet game much appreciated by the ancient Egyptians, whose rules are not yet very clear, but it could compare it to the “game of the Goose”. The word senet means “pass” and would reflect the progress of the game.

Detail of the Game Board of Tutankhamun
Detail of the Game Board of Tutankhamun

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 62058a-o