“We weren’t able to leave the island” Escaping Siberia, page 4
The photo competition Archaeology in... Games!
Editor Sebastiaan Barel tests games on their archaeology.
In this IN SITU: Escaping Siberia
Interview with Wouter Bonhof, who got stuck in Siberia during his internship
The In Situ Photocompetition Who won?
Archaeology in... Games!
How archaeologically correct is the new Tomb Raider?
Games around the world
Which games should you be able to play during your internship?
Our guy in Oman
Sam Botan is staying in Oman and tells us about his internship at the Sultan Qaboos University.
Reviews, games, recipes, talks about internships, and of course.... The Archeobros!
Wouter Bonhof about his internship in Russia By: Sebastiaan Barel Every summer, students go abroad to the most remote places in the world. In archaeology it is usual if the project doesn’t go according to plan. But what do you do when stuff really gets messed up? Wouter Bonhof got stuck in Siberia, so we wanted to know more about his summer.
of earlier research in this area and there is still a lot of material remaining which still needs to be sorted out. The Mammoth Museum excists since 2007 and there are conducting research in this area for about seven years now.”
Where exactly were you? “We were in Northern Siberia on the New-Siberian islands.” Hard at work on the Siberian island. Photo: Ivo Verheijen
What is the research goal? “The main goal was to look for signs of the earliest human occupation in this area.” Are there thus far any clues for early human occupation? “In 2012 or 2013, a spear point The red square indicates the location of was found, which was made of the internship. Map: Google Earth the tusk of a woolly rhinoceros. Were you there alone or are there We also found other pieces of tusk locals living there? flakes, used to make tools. On the “The island is uninhabited, in mainland there are more finds, exception of a weather station. For such as flint.“ the rest there are only reindeers and fish.” Do you have a dating already? What was the project you were working at? “It was a joint venture between the University of Leiden and the Mammoth Museum, which belongs to the North Eastern Federal University.“ Is this a long-term project? “This summer’s project was a sole expeditition, led by Semyon Grigorev, head of the mammoth museum. There has been a lot
“The spear I mentioned earlier is dated 11,500 years old.”
Remains piled up while working Photo: Ivo Verheijen
What were your tasks during the project? “Together with Ivo Verheijen, we were there to add an archeological aspect to the project. There was also one other archaeologist. We were mainly looking for tafonomic traces on bones. We were also there to improve the cooperation.” Isn’t it difficult to dig into the frozen ground? “The permafrost starts from half a meter to a meter down. Above that it’s just dirt, moss, and some low plants and herbs. That is similar to digging in grass in the Netherlands. Besides digging, we made a lot of finds on the beach.”
Digging on the beach. Photo: Ivo Verheijen
But isn’t the context missing if you find fossiles on the beach? “Only if we find it on the beach. When it’s sticking out of the permafrost wall, it’s still in context. But a lot of the dating is based on carbon dating, which is done in Groningen by Hans van der Plicht.” Close to the end you were told that you couldn’t leave. What happened? “We were supposed to be picked up by the boats who also brought us. These were two larger ones. Both broke down, so it took a
while before we were able to leave.” “Eventually we were at the weather station, where we got picked up by three small boats, arranged by Sergey Federov of the museum. These are norally used as taxis on the rivers on the mainland.” How much longer were you on the island? “We were supposed to be on the island for a week, but eventually we were there for three and a half weeks.” What did you do to entertain yourselves? “The island had long stretched beaches with permafrost on which we could search for fossils. Me and Ivo continued to do some small excavations on several spots on the island. We also played cards… A lot of cards. For the rest we did tasks to survive, like collecting or chopping wood. Another fun thing was when we went out shooting at one moment. We practiced on empty cans.”
A days work. Photo: Ivo Verheijen
Did you had any contact with your parents or others? “No, we had a satellite phone with a limited amount of minutes to use. Ivo and I occasionally had a couple of minutes to call Thijs van Kolfschoten. He was then able to continue messages to relatives.” Eventually you had trouble with the remaining food. How did you
respond to that? “The supplies were running short with the group, so we decided to go to the weather station to ask if we could stay the remaining days there and get some of their supplies.” Then your visas were expired. How was that solved? “Eventually we were back in Yakutsk (capital of the region). The people of the mammoth museum helped us, since they had experience with these matters. We had to go to the international office to apply for a transit visa and to prove we weren’t able to leave the island and get our flight.” Was our faculty somehow involved or aware of what was happening? “Later I heard that the faculty knew about our situation. Femke Tomas helped me with me graduating for my bachelor. For the rest, there was little they could do, like making contact with the embassy in Moscow. It were the people from the Mammoth Museum who helped us the most.” Would you go back for this project again? Wouter thinks a couple seconds and then laughs: “I thought a lot about this, but I still don’t know… You do see areas you normally wouldn’t see and their preparation is usually better. I think I would go back, but only if another Dutch student would join as well.” How was Russia in general? “It’s extraordinary. Their culture is different. Disputes are more heated than here, but I haven’t seen any fights though. They can also be really relaxed and they always supported and helped us. The Siberian landscape is just
beautiful. There are arctic foxes, the northern light… All together it’s just great. And then the vodka drinking. Vodka is really cheap there.” Is it easy for a student to go on an internship at this project? “I don’t think so. Thijs van Kolfschoten was invited in the first place, but he asked us, because he couldn’t go. Because of his connections we could go, but normally it is a very closed off project. Almost every other person was either Russian or Korean, because these countries donate a lot of money. There was also a Moldovian paleontologist and a France journalist. I think it would be difficult for a student to join.”
LaMa-Reis Destination: Lissabon This year, you can join Johan de Laet and Maitreya for a legendary trip! This year’s trip will be to the beautifull Lisbon! We’ll leave on the evening of friday (5-2-2016) and we will return on the evening of monday (8-2-2016). The bachelor students won’t miss any classes with this lessons and we are working on a few remaining masterclasses. If you want to attend on this trip, please mail to johandelaet@ gmail.com. You’ll receive an application form (which also can be found in the Terra newsletter) with additional information on payment and more! Unfortunately we are full. If you email and fill in the form you will be on the reserve list. The price for this unforgettable trip will be €125,-!
In Situ Photo Competition
Winner Archaeology Related: Kristen Grothe This summer, In Situ Magazine organized an archaeological photo competition. There were two topics in which you could win. First of all, the Place2Be topic. A bonus of archaeology is that you are able to visit some remote areas and witness some beautiful places. The other photo was any archaeology related photo. Now as the competition has ended, we would like to show you the winning photos and congratulate the winners! Kirsten Grothe took this picture during her internship in Oman: “On the photo, you can see Bleda Düring, our project leader, with two other students. This was during a survey where we are looking for cairns.”
Kirsten made this photo with an analog camera: “An analog camera would take all aspects of the picture in a better way than a small handheld digital camera. I also have a DSLR, but I like the analog camera, because I have a limited amount of photos. I have to think about which picture I want to make.”
In Situ Photo Competition Winner Place 2 Be: Keshia Akkermans
Keshia Akkermans took this picture while travelling through Nicaragua last summer. This particular photo was made on the Island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. She and three fellow students are climbing the volcano with a guide: “We woke up extra early, so we would be the first to walk this trail. At the moment we arrived in the valley, a dozen of beautiful green parrets flew out of their nests.” The climb is quite tough, especially in the heat of Nicaragua: “Although I couldn’t really endure with the heat and I was always the last in line, it gave me the opportunity to make this photo.” Luckily there would be a nice cooling pool and enormous waterfall waiting for the students
Our guy in Oman
Sam Botan on his internship in Oman By: Sam Botan
Muscat 1 December 2015
The lab in Oman. Photo: Sam Botan
The first thoughts on Oman for most people will probably be an oil rich country, where everybody is driving a Porsche. Yes, that’s one aspect of Oman, but there is much more to this (rather) small oil nation. But let me first introduce myself for those who do not know me. I am Sam Botan, Terra member and for the coming 2 years I will be staying in the capital city of Oman, Muscat, working on an archaeological project at the Sultan Qaboos University. At the same time I will writing my personal experiences with the Omani society in coming issues of In Situ magazine.
As I said, at the moment I am living in Muscat. In the south of Muscat to be precise, in area known as Boshar. This area is quickly developing and is advertised as “the new place to be” for young families and expats. Oman in general knows a very big expat community. In Muscat up till 45% of the inhabitants are expats. Most of these expats are from India and Bangladesh, but there are also people from the US, the UK, Germany and occasionally one lost Dutch person. This means that on the streets of Muscat you will not only hear Arabic, but also a lot of Hindi and English, making
The Sultan Qaboos University. Photo: Sam Botan
this one of the most multicultural cities I have experienced thus far. As for the Omani people, they are very friendly, little bit reserved and very proud. The Omani society might feel like a paradox for foreigners. For example: The country knows a big unemployment rate among young people (20-30 years) and yet almost everybody owns one, two or even three cars. How is that possible you might ask? Well, petrol costs here 0,20 euro’s a liter, meaning that you actually pay more for a bottle of water than for a liter of petrol! Another example: Oman is a very religious, Muslim country. On the university all the women were a jilbab (a traditional overgarment which covers the entire body, except for the face) and the man a dishdasha (tradional white colored Omani garment); and they sit opposite each other in class. Yet, at the same time Muscat has a big Oprah House which is sold out every week and the parliament has female representatives and a female minister of Education. In will go in more detail about this “paradox” in the coming issues, but for now let me explain why I am actually in Oman.
Let me briefly explain for a moment what my work actually is, here at the university. For the past decades the interest for the archaeology of Oman has been increasing. In the past most of the archaeological research has been mainly focused on Mesopotamia and Syria and the Oman peninsula was seen as uninteresting and a little backwatered. This image has changed these past 20 years and now days you have a dozen of archaeological projects in Oman, with over 20 different nationalities participating in it. However, this has also created a problem. Up till now each project has used their own (local) terminology to described most of their finds. For example, a certain ceramic find might be described as “Hili Sandy Ware” and a similar find might be described at another location as “Red Sandy Ware”. This creates of course a problem. My work will be to help create a reference collection for one of the regions in Oman, the Batinah region to be more precise. By studying the ceramic finds from the site of Rustaq and comparing those finds with other sites in the Batinah region, we hope to create a reference collection that will help future projects in recognizing and dating their own finds. So what does that actually mean in practice? Well, it means that for the coming two years I will be looking, numbering, photographing and drawing over 16000 sherds; 5 days a week, from 10.00-17.00. This might sound like horror to some of the readers, but take some of following things into consideration: First of all, I have access to my own lab, which I am freely to use and move things around as I see fit. I don’t even need to clean it, because there is a team of 5
Map of Oman, with the different regions. Map: Mapsoftheworld.com
cleaning man who clean the lab each day. Secondly, the university that I am working at, has some of the most beautiful sceneries here in Oman (see fig 3+4). Finally, and perhaps the most important aspect, I can do all my work in a country where it never snows, still has a temperature of 28 degrees Celsius in December and only had 1 rainy day in the past 4 months……Consider these aspects for a moment, while you have a look outside….does it still sound like horror?
Some facts about Oman - The capital is Muscat. - Ruled by sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. - Oman has 4,298,320 inhabitants. - The country consists of 309,500 km2, and (according to Wikipedia) the percentage of water in the country is “negligible”. - There is a three hour time difference between Amsterdam and Muscat. - Want to call Oman? The country code is 00968. - The currency used is the Omani Rial. - The oldest known city in Oman is Dereaze, which dates back 9000 years. - The Sultan Qaboos University is the only public university of Oman.
Archaeology in... Games! How archaeologically correct are games?
Still from the new Tomb Raider. Source: Tombraider.com
By: Sebastiaan Barel Lara Croft is back in Rise of the Tomb Raider. This was for us an opportunity to review the game and look at the archaeological aspects in several games. In this game, Lara follows her (late) father’s footsteps to investigate a myth leading to the ‘devine source’, a super-natural power, hidden in the historical city called Kitezh. Persued by an evil organization called ‘Trinity’ rushes her to find the source before they do. After the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise in 2013 we expect a lot from this game. Although the story is a little bit disappointing (I expected a better story without too much
supernatural stuff), it’s still good for hours of entertainment. The game also has some new fun additions: There are numerous tombs which can be found and explored, and there are numerous side quests to complete. Another welcoming addition for us as archaeologists are some new skills which you can train. You can investigate murals, monoliths and scripts and you have to train your language skills, such as Mongolian, Greek or Russian, in order to find hidden clues. The lost city of Kitezh Besides the improved archaeological components, the story also has a historical background. In this game, Lara is searching for the city of Kitezh. This city is a true myth. Although
it isn’t in Siberia, the tale says that beneath a lake in west-central Russia, the city has submerged, when it was raided by the Golden Hord of the Mongols. The game has added a few more details from this legend, but we want you to find that out yourselves. Archaeological background It isn’t that obvious, but archaeological knowledge has its benefit for games. Many games consist of developing different cultures/races/civilizations. Look at games such as World of Warcraft, Civilization, Skyrim and what not. Each game has a story and so a certain background in history. As archaeologist we can be an advising role for game developers on how people behaved, how
Still from the new Tomb Raider. Source: Tombraider.com
cities were build and how buildings were organized. All this are important aspects in how realistic the game world is for the player. Also games such as Skyrim have influences from earlier cultures. Ever noticed the phrase “I was once an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow into the knee”? That phrase is an old Scandinavian saying. Taking an arrow in the knee means you are getting married! Minecraft Another game which is received with open arms by several archaeologists is Minecraft. In a world, build up from square blocks from several materials, you are able to create whatever you like. The freedom and endless possibilities were reasons for archaeologists to work with this game.
It’s easy to reconstruct houses, temples, castles and much more. It would also be cheaper and less time consuming than a real life reconstruction. Some universities also use the game to let children participate in an digital excavation. But we wouldn’t be archaeologists if we wouldn’t bring it to the next level. A research group started a game of Minecraft and asked players to play until they die. When they die, they had to pass on the game to another player and so on. Later the researchers would investigate the world and try to retrace players steps and try to distinguish their way of building. Interactive Pasts Later this year, the value project, located in our faculty, will have a conference on interactive pasts. It will be held here in Leiden on
April the fifth and sixth. The goal is to bring scholars together with game developers.
Did you know that our faculty has a research group that does research on the intersection of games and archaeology? The group wants to introduce a new field of archaeological research can read that their ‘aim is to raise academic and societal awareness and to showcase research opportunities.’ Besides research, the group aims to organize several events. Earlier this year was a gathering where they recreated Palmyra on Minecraft with the audience. A conference, interactive pasts, will be held at 5-6 April 2016 here in Leiden. Look for more information about this research group and their events on www.valueproject.nl.
Still from the new Tomb Raider. Source: Tombraider.com
Archaeological recipes Mayan recipes
With winter right around the corner, lets flee to the Mayan kitchen. Imagine yourself in the tropical, and warm jungle while eating and drinking this. Mayan pumpkin soup Serves 6 1 small pumpkin 2 tablespoons palm or other neutral oil, like peanut or safflower 3 tablespoons honey 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1 liter turkey broth salt to taste thinly sliced wild onions or scallions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pumpkin in a baking dish and roast until easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Allow pumpkin to cool, slice off top, and scoop out seeds. Remove pumpkin fibers from seeds, toss seeds with oil, and salt to taste. Spread out on a baking sheet and return to oven 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and golden. Reserve for garnish.
Scrape the pumpkin flesh from shell and mash, or puree if a smoother mixture is desired. Place the pumpkin in a large saucepan and season with salt, honey, and allspice. Gradually stir in enough broth to make soup with thin or thick consistency, as desired. Simmer over medium heat about 5 minutes, until hot. If desired, serve soup in small pumpkin or squash shells. Garnish with onions and pumpkin seeds.
Mayan hot chocolate Serves 8 57 gram bitter, unsweetened bakersâ€™ chocolate 1 liter hot water 3 tablespoons honey dash salt 4 sticks cinnamon bark Chop the chocolate and heat it in 250 ml of water until melted. Add honey and salt. Beat the hot chocolate with a balloon wire whip as you add 750 ml of hot water. Serve the foamy hot chocolate with cinnamon-bark stick stirrers. Whipped cream and chocolate toppings are optional.
Photo: mccun934 / Foter.com / CC BY
Photo: avlxyz / Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Godly animals at Museum Volkenkunde By: Linda Leestemaker Till the 3th of Januari, Museum Volkenkunde exhibits godly and mythical animals from around the world. Unfortunately, the museum is mostly inspired by their own collection, and mostly the large Indonesia-collection they have on permanent display.
Raven mask from the Tlingit. Photo: Linda Leestemaker
There is one thing you might need to know about animals and religion before walking into the Museum Volkenkunde. Every religion in the world has animals that are connected to gods, or at least to mythical powers. Even the Bible has the Leviathan, even though no-one seems to have a clue what kind of animal it is exactly. Several of these animals are now on display at Museum Volkenkunde, in the temporary exhibit Grrr… Powerful Animals. When walking around the show, you will notice that it is relatively dark and the lack of light gives the paintings and sculptures something of a ‘spooky vibe’. The (lack of) lighting is an element that works surprisingly well, as this whole exhibit is about mystic powers and strange animals. By placing the objects in a slightly
dim-lighted room, it does make them more mythical. Combine this with sounds of thunder, jungle, and roaring animals and you practically get the image of a world beyond ours.
permanent exhibits, that would have looked great in Powerful Animals. Was it not possible to move them for a short while? The Salmon-Mask in the North pole-exhibit would have looked amazing next to the Japanese twoheaded dragon. Unfortunately, these objects are not on display in Powerful Animals. So if you want to get a bit more of a complete image of mythological animals, you might want to wander around the museum for a bit after visiting and enjoying Powerful Animals.
The Egyptian Ibis, connected to the god Thoth. Photo: Linda Leestemaker
However, no exhibit is without flaws and neither is Powerful Animals . While the sculptures and paintings of mythological animals look magnificent and great, there is one downside to them. Most of the godly creatures come from Asia, and more specifically Indonesia and its direct surroundings. As the origins of the Museum Volkenkunde lie in the Asian collection, which came to the Netherlands by order of King Willem I, it seems logic that most of the pieces are Asian of origin. However, this does give a rather limited image to Powerful Animals. The only European mythological animal showcased, is the griffin even though there are many others to be found. As well as a relative lack of mythical animals from the America’s, Oceania, and Africa. The shame is, that the Museum Volkenkunde owns several pieces that are on display in their
North-American mask of the Salmgod. Not in the temporary exhibit. Photo: Linda Leestemaker
Internship in... MOLISE
Martine Becx shares her Italian experiences By: Martine Becx Last August, the landscape of Early Roman Colonization project took place in two different places in the province of Molise (Italy). The excavation of the sanctuary of San Giovanni in Galdo took place near Jelsi, and the survey of Samnite hill-forts took place in the area of Isernia with its basecamp in Castelpetroso. I participated in the last project. The main goal of this project was to discover a pattern of the activity of the Samnites. A second goal was to compare this pattern to the activity patterns of the early Roman colonists in the same region. Research was done at lo Monaco and la Romana, both of which are mountains of which it is very likely that they were used as hill-forts. Most of the activities consisted of
point sampling, block sampling, collecting. Afterwards we were busy with washing, processing, and drawing of the finds.
Samnite wall. Photo: Martine Becx
The days always started nice and early at 05.00 in the morning, which left you with an hour to wake up, pack your stuff for the day, and have breakfast. It’s a long way to the top of the mountains but the view is very beautiful. We worked in the field till 14.00. The most common finds were ceramics, although metal pieces weren’t very rare either. Seeing
we were researching hill-fort sites it wasn’t strange that we encountered some leftover structures like the polygonal wall of the potential hill-fort on la Romana. From two to five in the afternoon there was a well-deserved siesta in which there was time to do groceries, and get some sleep. The rest of the activities took place from 17.00 till 19.00 o’clock. These tasks were: washing the finds of the day, and drawing the drawing selection. This project offers a very broad training perspective due to the different jobs, not only in the field but also in basecamp. These different jobs created a pattern that we followed the entire project.
Games around the world Which game to play on which internship?
Games around the world. Read the article to learn about the games connected to the countries. Picture : Linda Leestemaker
By: Linda Leestemaker Summer is often the time of internships, but also the time of blistering sun and laziness. How do you fill in any free time? Well, here are some popular games, played in countries that you could excavate in. America’s 1. Caribbean: All Fours The national card game of Trinidad and Tobago, All Fours is still played all around the Caribbean. The game was brought there by the English sailors, although rumour states the Dutch invented it. The game was first described in 1674, in Kent. The Caribbean version of All Fours is different from the original English game, mostly because it is played counter clockwise. All Fours is a tavern trick game, which lost its popularity after
the 19th century except in the Caribbean. It is still played in bars and high amounts of money are gambled over it. 2. Mexico: Loteria In Mexico, they often play a game similar to Bingo named Loteria. The game was brought to Mexico by Spanish colonists, during the 18th century. It is tradition to play this game on Mexican fairs. The game is played with a board and deck of cards that have matching images. If this is too easy or boring for you, there is an advanced version. Instead of naming the drawn card, the caller makes up a rhyme or riddle to describe the image on the card! This game seems to be a pretty fun way to learn Spanish. 3. Peru: Sapo Sapo, played in Peru, is a coin toss game that dates back all the
way to the Inca’s. Legend tells us about the sacred Inca lake Titicaca. The Inca King came here to throw gold pieces in the lake, hoping to catch the attention of the frog living in the lake. If the frog would to the surface and take the gold, it would grand a wish. Objective is to throw your coin in the frog’s mouth, which is hard! You should see Sapo as a very tough version of bowling, and it is a popular drinking game in Peruvian bars. Africa 4. Kenya: Bao Bao is a traditional board game, played in most countries of subSahara Africa. The name comes from the Swahili word for board. The game is so well-known and popular, that ‘bao masters’ are highly respected in local communities.
The game is set up by a board with small holes, and seeds to play with. The goal is to capture your opponent’s seeds. It is a tricky process that involves a lot of strategy. Because of the African tradition of oral storytelling, the rules of Bao are mostly preserved by oral tradition and can therefore differ slightly per family of community. Middle East 5. Middle East: Backgammon The game backgammon is very popular in the Middle East, and in countries like Jordan and Oman people play the game in coffeehouses to pass the time. The earliest origins of backgammon is the game tabula, which can be found in an epigram of the Byzantine emperor Zeno. Zeno writes about a dice roll, that seems to be rather bad for his position in the game. The oldest board games that seem to have links with backgammon, as they also work with dice, from the Near East date back to 35003000 BC. These games were excavated in Egypt, where the game senet was found in Egyptian royal tombs, and in the Persian Shahr-e Sukhteh.
Even though a lot of people have seen a backgammon board at some point in their lives, it is one of those games of which no-one ever seem to know the rules…
Backgammon board and start-setting. Picture: www.bkgm.com
6. Israël: Go-Go-Im Summer in Israël means eating apricots! The country produces more than 13 tonnes of them each year and many Israeli dishes use the fruit. The pits remain unused. Why? Because apricots pits are poisonous. One kernel contains about half a milligram of cyanide. So you use the pits for a game! To play Go-Go-Im all you need are at least 20 pits and one box per player. Cut six different sized holes in each box, and add point values to them. Now stand back at least one meter and try to throw your pits into other players boxes. The points you hit, determine how much pits (go-go’s) the other
player must give you. The person with the most pits wins! 7. Turkey: Okey Okey is a game mostly played in Turkey. Players of this game can often be found in coffeehouses, although it is played at home as well. The goal is to create the most sets, either by matching number or colour. The game ends when each player has completed their hand of tiles. According to some online digging, a game of Okey can last for several hours. Which explains the coffeehouses, you need that Turkish coffee to stay focused! Asia 8. China: Mah-jong Mah-jong is popular in China, and most likely descended from the game pènghú. But very little is known about the exact history of mah-jong, or its origins. It is even unknown when the game switched from using cards, to using tiles. As mah-jong often involves high bets, the People’s Republic of China banned the game in 1949 because gambling was seen as a symbol of capitalism and corruption. Only in 1985, this law was revoked after the Cultural Revolution.
How to play: Backgammon! The objective is rather simple: to move all your pieces to you own home board and bear them off. The question is: how do you do this? Each opponent places his checkers and moves across the board to remove their checkers from the table.. Each dice determines the amount of moves allowed by ONE checker. A checker may only be moved to an open point, or a point with only one other checker on it. If you manage to roll doubles, you suddenly get four moves with the numbers rolled. If a number cannot be played, you lose that move and it is your opponents turn. If you land on a point and the (only) other checker there is your opponents, it is hit and has to be placed on the bar. You are not allowed to move checkers, until you manage to place all your pieces on the board. Did you manage to bring ALL your checkers onto your own home board? Let’s hope the dice-gods are with you, because now you can bear them off, but only if you roll the exactly right number. Now that forgotten game in grandma’s attic can finally be played, just in time for the spring internships.
Mah-jong has a whole set of rules that would take up this entire In Situ to explain. So, if you happen to go on an internship in China, look up the rules!
A game of Go, or Japanese chess. Picture: Wikipedia
9. Japan: Go Unlike mah-jong, the origins of Go are very traceable, with the oldest game dating back more than 2500 years. The earliest written reference is the Zuo Zhuan (4th century BC). Go is relatively similar to chess, although considered more complicated and you are not allowed to move your stones. The objective of the game is to cover a larger area of the board with your stones, than the opponent. There is another big difference between chess and Go: with Go, black goes first!
10. Russia: Durak Being stuck in the ice sucks, you can read all about that in Escaping Siberia, so when going to Russia you might as well bring cards to pass the time. Durak is the most popular game played in Russian bars. What do you do? Try to get rid of all your cards. The last player with cards in their hands is the durak (fool). Unlike in Italian, Spanish, or Greek card games, Russians do NOT cut the cards after they are shuffled. This is because whoever touches the deck last is the fool. Played with two to five people, the idea of the game that there is one defender while the rest of the players can ‘attack’. Suddenly, ganging up on people is part of a game? Europe 11. Greece/Cyprus: Diloti Diloti is a popular game in Greece, where it is mostly played in winter-times. When played in bars, the game is often accompanied by lots of noise and showing off, just for fun. The game originated as Basra, in Cyprus, where the locals were introduced to it by the Ottomans. The Cypriots eventually brought
the game to Greece where it changed into Diloti. The game’s objective is to be the first player to score 100 points, and the rules of the game are very similar to the Italian game scopa, with the only difference being the point-system. 12. Italy: Scopa Scopa is an Italian card game, played with Neapolitan cards. If you plan on doing your internship in Molise this summer, it is quite necessary to learn the game at some point. As you try to clear all the cards from the table, scopa was named by the Italian noun ‘to sweep’. When playing, be warned: banter, and other strong-worded cries are rather compulsory when playing the game. 13. Spain: Mus Mus is one of the most popular games in Spain, with Basque origins. The game is played in teams, and the trick is to communicate with your partner without saying a word. One theory is that the name mus comes from the Latin ‘musso’, which means ‘keep silent’.
How to play: Scopa! The game is rather simple. Each player has three hand-cards each round. With the cards in your hand, you can collect cards from the table. Each card corresponds with a certain amount of points, and it is possible that the value of a hand-card can be matched by one or several table-cards. Each round consists of three hand-card, you can play only ONE hand-card per turn. But with this card you can grab as many table-card as needed to match the value of this hand-card. If you are not able to take card, as nothing matches any of your hand-cards, you must add one of your own cards to the table. When the dealer is out of cards, there are four points to be given: 1. Having the most cards at the end of the game. 2. Having the most coins (cards with coins on them) at the end of the game. 3. Having the most sevens (cards worth seven points) at the end of the game. 4. Having the settebello (coin seven). Extra points can be scored with scopa’s, these are the hand-cards that resulted in taking all cards off the table. The game is finished if a player reaches over 11 points.
How to play: Kubb! Kubb is easy: with the field set up like the picture below. The set-up of a Kubb-game. Picture: www.picnicrecipesandgames.com
After setting up the field, one team gets the six batons and tries to knock over the other teams kubbs. Only under-handed throws are allowed! At the end of the round, the waiting team throws the kubb’s that were knocked over onto the field of the opposing team. They are placed where they hit ground first. Now the other team has to hit the field-kubbs first before hitting the base-kubbs. Flying blocks of wood everywhere! When a team manages to overthrow all the other ones kubbs, they get to aim for the King. Whoever knocks over the King, wins. However, if you accidentally hit the King BEFORE emptying the other ones field first, you immediately lose the game. The game is based on four categories, and points are earned by bidding. The most important part of the game is the rounds of Mus, discarding cards to get a better hand. This discarding is blocked with the text No hay mus. So to Mus, or not to Mus, that is the (silent) question… A Mus tradition is to have a glass of Rioja, and play the game afterwards. 14. Sweden/Scandinavia: Kubb Kubb is a typical Swedish game, that involves throwing wooden sticks. The Swedish themselves often believe that this game was played by the Vikings, although very little evidence of this is found. However, the legend states that the warriors played the games with the skulls of their enemies. The first solid historic evidence of the game dates back to the early 20th century, and no skulls are involved. So we’ll believe the Viking-tale, as it seems way cooler. Is it raining or snowing during your internship? Not to worry! IKEA is working on an housefriendly version of Kubb!
15. Netherlands: sjoelen I wish I could say otherwise, but no… After several searches on Google, and even on Yahoo and Bing, I unfortunately must conclude that the most wellknown and incredibly Dutch game is… sjoelen! For our foreing readers, we will explain this whole concept of ‘sjoelen’. The idea is rather simple: you try to slide wooden pucks through slots on a special board, a sjoelbak. Every slot has its own value. Every board has a wooden bar, you are not allowed to touch the pucks with your hands behind that bar! All the pucks that did NOT end up in the slots, are to be used for another turn. It is your turn until all the pucks are in a slot, or until you feel like you are done. The person with the most points wins! Easy, right?
Want to write for IN SITU Magazine? As IN SITU Magazine is the magazine for the students from the archaeology faculty of the University Leiden, everyone is welcome to write for us. If you want to write about your internship, a certain topic, or you have a great idea for us to write about, do not hesitate to contact us. Go to the IN SITU Magazine Facebook page, and send your idea or article to us. One of our editors will get back to you as soon as possible.
A sjoelbak. Picture: Wikipedia
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Next time in IN SITU: The new RMO
Curator Ruurd Halberstma tells us all about the renovation of the RMO
Archaeology in the Near East
Olivier Nieuwenhuijse talks about the destruction of the archaeology in Syria
Meet Ian Lilly
The newest faculty-member
Archaeology in... Film! How archaeologically correct is film?
The NaRe- en Pica-reizen And more Archeobros! Statue from Cyprus. Photo: rmo.nl
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IN SITU Magazine, the magazine of the Faculty of Archaeology of the University Leiden. How real is the archaeology in the new Tomb Raider? R...
Published on Sep 17, 2018
IN SITU Magazine, the magazine of the Faculty of Archaeology of the University Leiden. How real is the archaeology in the new Tomb Raider? R...