Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute of Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) have made some spectacular find in the Nordic region.
The group of archaeologists from NIKU had discovered a rare medieval chess piece in Anders Madsen's gate in Tønsberg during an excavation before Christmas 2017. The 800-year-old chess piece, which depicts a horse-like figure, is believed to be a knight.
The archaeologists had excavated a house dating back to the 13th century where they found the Arabian pattern chess piece.
Speaking of its design, Lars Haugesten, project manager for the excavation stated: "The design of the piece has an abstract shape, and is designed according to Islamic tradition, where no human figures are to be depicted."
The abstract shaped piece is richly decorated with circles along with a protruding snout on the top, which also has two dotted circles.
"No previous archaeological finds from Tønsberg have such details, which emphasizes that this chess piece is a unique object," Haugesten said.
Looking back at the history, chess was earlier known as shatranj. It was introduced in the Arab world after the conquest of Persia in the 7th century. Then it was spread to Spain in the 10th century by the Moors and afterwards, it was taken up in Scandinavia.
The chess piece was not the only discovery during the excavation. NIKU archaeologists have discovered several houses and streets from the Middle Ages. In addition to that, ceramics, metal, combs, antlers and a wide range of artefacts as well.
The area where the excavation took place is known as Anders Madsens gate 3 in the center of modern Tønsberg. From the 12th to 15th centuries, the area was considered the outskirts of medieval Tønsberg.