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58 Holes (Hounds and Jackals)





Northern Africa, Central Asia, Southern Asia, Western Asia


Board, Race, Escape.


58 holes was a game popular in ancient Southwest Asia from the second and first millennia BCE. The earliest known board comes from Egypt, but it appears very quickly in widely dispersed places throughout the region very quickly, so an origin somewhere else cannot be ruled out. After the middle of the second millennium BCE, it was mostly played only in Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Iran. The ancient name for the game is unknown. In the center of the board are two parallel lines of ten holes, which are surrounded by an arc of 39-41 holes, typically with a larger or marked square at the apex. Pieces are typically pegs to be inserted into the holes, but in some cases discs, stones, or seeds may be used.


58-60 holes. Two rows of parallel lines of spaces in the center, ten or eleven in each line. Outer arc with 29-30 spaces. Five pieces per player. Sometimes certain holes are connected to each other or individually marked.

DLP evidence.

All Rulesets

Reconstructed rulesets
"Axe-Blade" 58 holes Played on a board shaped like an axe blade.
"Violin-shaped" 58 Holes Played on a board shaped like a violin.

Suggested rulesets
Carnarvon and Carter Proposed by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter.

Ludeme Description

58 Holes.lud

Evidence Map

70 pieces of evidence in total. Browse all evidence for 58 Holes here.

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Aliyev, I. & F. Abdullayev. 2011. Namälum Abseron. Baku: Digital Age Production.

Amiet, P. 1976. Les antiquités de Luristan. Paris: De brocard.

Becker, A. 1993. Uruk. Kleinfunde I, Stein. Mainz am Rhein: Philip von Zabern.

Bittel, K. 1937. Bogazköy, die kleinfunde der grabungen, 1906–1912. Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs.

Carnarvon, Earl of and H. Carter. 1912. Five Years’ Exploration at Thebes. London: Oxford University Press.

de Mecquenem, R. 1905. Offrandes de fondations du temple de Chouchinak. In J. de Morgan and G. Jeequier (eds), Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse VII. Paris: Recherches archéologiques, 61–130.)

Decker, W. and M. Herb. 1994. Bildatlas zum Sport im Alten Ägypten Corpus der Bildlichen Quellen zu Liebesübungen, Spiel, Jagd, Tanz, und Verwandten Themen. Leiden: Brill.

Drioton, E. 1940. 'Un ancien jeu copte.' Bulletin de la société d'archéologia copte 6

Dunn-Vaturi, A.-E. 2012. 'Un jeu de 58 trous parmi les ivoires Pratt.' Histoire Antique et Médiévale HS 33: 62–67.

Edwards, M. 1983. Excavations in Azerbaijan (North-western Iran) 1. Haftavan, Period VI. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.

Ellis, R. and B. Buchanan. 1966. 'An Old Babylonian Game Board with Sculptured Decoration.' Journal of Near Eastern Studies 25(3): 192–201.

Emery, W. 1979. Fortress of Buhen: Archaeological Report. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

Gadd, C. 1934. 'An Egyptian Game in Assyria.' Iraq 1: 45–50.

Ghirshman, R. 1939. Fouilles de Sialk II. Paris: P. Geuthner.

Hayes, W. 1935. The Scepter of Egypt I. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hill, H, T. Jacobsen, and P. Delougaz. 1990. Old Babylonian Public Buildings in the Diyala Region. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Klengel-Brandt, E. 1980. Spielbretter und Würfel aus Assur. Alt-Orientalische Forschungen 7, 119–126.

Loud, G. 1939. The Megiddo Ivories. Oriental Institute Publications 52. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Macalister, R.A.S. 1912. The Excavation of Gezer 1902–1905 and 1907–1909. London: Palestine Exploration Fund.

May, R. (ed.) 1991. Jouer dans l’antiquité. Marseille: Musées de Marseille.

McCown, D., R. Haines and R. Biggs. 1967. Nippur. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Moortgat-Correns, U. 1959. 'Ein Spielbret vom Tell Ailun (?).' InR. von Kienle, A. Moortgat, H. Otten, E. von Schuler, and W. Zaumseil (eds) Festschrift Johannes Friedrich. Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 339–345.

Nassouhi, E. 1925. 'Un curieux monument néo-assyrien en marbre rouge veiné.' Révue d'assyriologie 22: 17–22.

Nougayrol, J. 1947. Textes et documents figurés. Revue d'assyriologie 41: 23–53.

Oren, E. 1973. The Northern Cemetery of Beth Shean. Leiden: Brill.

Ozgüc, T. 1986. Kültepe-Kanesh II. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi.

Petrie, W. 1928. Gerar. London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt.

Petrie, W. and G. Brunton. 1924 Sedment I. London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt.

Petrie, W.M.F. 1890. Kahun, Gurob, and Hawara. London: Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.

Petrie, W.M.F. 1927. Objects of Daily Use. London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt.

Starr, R. 1937. Nuzi II. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

van Buren, E.D. 1937. A gaming-board from Tall Halaf. Iraq 4(1): 11–15.

Vandier, J. 1964. Manuel d'archéologie égyptienne, 4: bas-reliefs et peintures, scènes de la vie quotidienne. Paris: Editions A. et J. Picard et Compagnie.

Wetzel, F., E. Schmidt, and Mallwitz. 1957. Das Babylon der Spätzeit. Berlin: Verlag Gebr. Mann.

Winlock, H. 1928. 'The Egyptian Expedition 1925–1927: The Museum's Excavations at Thebes.' The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 23(2): 3–58.

Winlock, H. 1942. Excavations at Deir El-Bahri: 1911–1931. New York: Macmillan.

Woolley, L. 1932. 'Excavations at Ur.' University of Pennsylvania Museum Journal 23(3): 193–248.



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