background Ludii Portal
Home of the Ludii General Game System

   

Part of the Digital Ludeme Project background    

Home Games Forum Downloads Tutorials Tournaments History World Map Team


 
Senet (Znt)

Leaderboard

Period(s)

Ancient

Region(s)

Northern Africa, Western Asia

Categories

Board, Race, Escape.

Description

Senet is one of the oldest board games known in the world, documented from about 3000 BCE until the first millennium BCE in Egypt. It was also played In Cyprus for most of that time, and played at different times in the Levant. Though a full ruleset has never been found, hints from texts and tomb paintings in Egypt give us clues about the manner in which it was likely played. The game was also heavily imbued with religious significance, as the board itself represented the journey through the afterlife.

Rules

Played on a 3x10 board. Pieces can be five or seven in number. Two players. Four casting sticks used as dice. Boustrophedon track from top left to bottom right.

DLP evidence.

All Rulesets

Reconstructed rulesets
Simple Senet Played on a board with no markings.
Simple Marked Senet Played on a board with basic markings.
Middle Kingdom Senet Played on a board common in Middle Kingdom Egypt.
Early New Kingdom Senet Played on a board common in earlier New Kingdom Egypt.
Late New Kingdom Senet Played on a board common in later New Kingdom Egypt.
Vertical Senet Played with a vertically-oriented board and different markings.
Double Senet Played on two boards placed next to each other.
Cypriot Senet Played on simple boards with seeds or stones in prehistoric Cyprus.

Suggested rulesets
Bell Suggested Rules from R. C. Bell.

Origin

Egypt

Ludeme Description

Senet.lud

Evidence Map

346 pieces of evidence in total. Browse all evidence for Senet here.

Click on any marker or highlighted region to view the evidence relating to it.
To view all regions, please select it from the category options below.

Evidence category:

Evidence coloured based on:

Map style:



Sources

Åström, P. 1984. 'Stones with cavities at Hala Sultan Tekke.' In C. Nicole (ed.), Aux origines de l’hellenisme: la Crète et la Grèce: hommage à Henri van Effenterre. Paris: Sorbonne, 9–14.

Ayrton, E. 1904. Abydos. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

Bénédite, G. 1894. 'Tombeau de Neferhotpu, fils d’Amenemanit.' Mémoires publiées par les membres de la mission archéologique française au Caire (Paris) 5: 489–540.

Blackman, A. 1920. 'A painted pottery model of a granary in the collection of the late Jeremiah James Coleman, Esq. of Carrow House, Norwich.' Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 6: 206–208.

Bruyère, B. 1930. Mert-Seger à Deir el Medineh. Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale.

Buchholz, H.-G. 1981. ''Schalensteine' in Griechenland, Anatolien, und Zypern.' In H. Lorenz (ed), Studien zur Bronzezeit, Festschrift für Wilhelm Albert von Brunn. Main am Rhein: von Zabern, 63–94.

Capart, J. 1938. 'A Neo-Memphite bas-relief.' Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 1:13–18.

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

Carter, H and A.C. Mace. 1933. The Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen. Cairo: Cassell & Co.

Carter, H and P. Newberry. 1904. The Tomb of Thutmosis IV. Westminster: A. Constable & Co.

Cherpion, N, J.P. Corteggiani, and J.-F. Gout. 2017. Le tombeau de Pétosiris à Touna el-Gebel: Relevé photographique. Cairo: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale.

Cohen, R. 1986. The Settlement of the Central Negev in the Light of Archaeological and Literary Sources during the Fourth-First Millennia BCE. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Hebrew University Jerusalem.

Coleman, J., J. Barlow, M. Mogelonsky, and K. Sharr. 1996. Alambra: A Middle Bronze Age Site in Cyprus. Investigations by Cornell University, 1975–1978. Jonsered: Paul Åströms Förlag.

Crist, W. 2016. Games of thrones: board games and social complexity in Bronze Age Cyprus. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Arizona State University.

Crist, W. 2016a. Gaming stones morphological data. Harvard Dataverse.

Crist, W., A.-E. Dunn-Vaturi and A. de Voogt. 2016. Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board Games Across Borders. London: Bloomsbury.

Daressy, G. 1902. Fouilles de la Vallée des Rois 1889–1899. Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale.

Davies, N and A. Gardiner. 1915. The Tomb of Amenemhet (No. 82). London: Egypt Exploration Society.

de Buck, A. 1961. The Egyptian Coffin Texts. Oriental Institute Publications 87. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

de Meulenaere, H. 'Review of Das Senet-Brettspiel im alten Ägypten.' Chronique d'Égypte 56: 89-90.

Decker, W. 1987. Sport und Spiel im alten Ägypten. Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck.

Deveria, T. 1897. Les jeux de dames en Égypte. In G. Maspero (ed.), Mémoires et Fragments II. Bibliothèque Égyptologique 5. Paris, 83–96.

Dunand, M. 1954. Fouilles de Byblos Tome I. Parios: Maisonneuve.

Dunand, M. 1958. Fouilles de Byblos 1933–1938 Tome II. Paris: Maisonneuve.

Dunham, D. 1978. Zawiyet el-Aryan. The Cemeteries Adjacent to the Later Pyramid. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts.

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

Faulkner, R. 1972. The Book of the Dead: A Collection of Spells. New York: Limited Editions Club.

Firth, C.M. 1927. The Archaeological Survey of Nubia. Report for 1910–1911. Cairo: National Printing Department.

Frankel, D. And J. Webb. 1996. Marki-Alonia: An Early and Middle Bronze Age Town in Cyprus. Excavations 1990–1994. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 123:1. Jonsered: Paul Åströms Förlag.

Frankel, D. And J. Webb. 2006. Marki Alonia. An Early and Middle Bronze Age Settlement in Cyprus. Excavations 1995–2000. Sävedalen: Paul Åströms Förlag.

Fugmann, E. 1958. Hama: fouilles et recherches 1931–1938 II.1: L’architecture des périodes préhellénistiques. Copenhagen: Fondation Carlsberg.

Gessler-Löhr, B. Et al. 1978. Meisterwerke altägyptischer Keramik: 5000 Jahre Kunst und Kunsthandwerk aus Ton und Fayence. Höhr-Grenzhausen: Keramikmuseum Westerwald.

Guillaume, P. 2013. 'Games.' In I. Finkelstein, D. Ussishkin, and E. Cline (eds). Megiddo V: The 2004–2008 Seasons. Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, 1106–1114.

Hassan, S. 1975. The Mastaba of Neb-Kaw-Her: Excavations at Saqqara, 1937–1938. Excavations Saqqara 24. Cairo: Service des Antiquités.

Hayes, W.C. 1959. The Scepter of Egypt. Volume 2. New York.

Hoffman, H. (ed.) 1964. The Beauty of Ancient Art: The Norbert Schimmel Collection. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

Iskander, J.N. 2010. 'A recently discovered senet-board from Heliopolis.' Mitteilungen des Deutsches Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 66: 122–129.

Jacquet, J. 1983. Le trésor de Thoutmosis Ier. Cairo: Institut Français d'Archeeologie Orientale.

Jacquet-Gordon, H. 2003. The Graffiti on the Khonsu Temple Roof at Karnak: A Manifestation of Personal Piety. Oriental Institute Publications 123. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Junker, H. 1940. Giza IV: Die Mastaba des Kai-em-ankh. Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky A.G.

Junker, H. 1953. Grabungen auf dem Friedhof des Alten Reiches bei den Pyramiden von Giza. Giza 11: Der Friedhof südlich der Cheopspyramide. Vienna: Rudolf Rohrer.

Kamal, A. 1914. Rapport sur les fouilles executés dans la zone comprise entre Deîrout au nord et Deir-el-Ganadlah, au sud. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte 15: 45–87.

Kamal, A. 1915. Le tombeau nouveau de Meir. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte 14: 209–258.

Karageorghis, V and M. Demas. 1988. Excavations at Maa-Palaeokastro 1979–1986. Nicosia: Department of Antiquities,

Karageorghis, V. And M. Demas. 1984. Pyla-Kokkinokremos: A Late 13th Century B.C. Fortified Settlement in Cyprus. Nicosia: Department of Antiquities.

Karageorghis, V. And M. Demas. 1985. Excavations at Kition V: The Pre-Phoenician Levels. Nicosia: Department of Antiquities.

Kendall, T. 1978. Passing through the Netherworld: The Meaning and Play of Senet, an Ancient Egyptian Funerary Game. Belmont, MA: Kirk Game Company.

Kochavi, M. 1967. The Settlement of the Negev in the Middle Bronze (Canaanite) I Age. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Lauer, J.-P. 1926. Saqqara, Royal Cemetery of Memphis. London: Thames and Hudson.

Lauffray, J. 1971. Abords occidentaux du premier pylône de Karnak. Kemi 21: 77–144.

Lee, J. 1982. 'An Early Bronze Age Game Stone from Bab edh-Dhra, Jordan.' Levant 14: 171–174.

Leemans, C. 1846–1850. Monuments égyptiens du Musée d’antiquités des Pays-Bas à Leide, Tome II. Leiden: Brill.

Lefebvre, G. 1923. Le Tombeau de Petosiris. Cairo: Institute Français des Antiquités Orientales.

Lepsius, R. 1849. Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien. Volume 1. Berlin: Nicolaische Buchhandlung.

MacGregor, W. 1922. Catalogue of the MacGregor Collection of Egyptian Antiquities. Sotheby Sale Catalog 1922. London: Dryden Press.

Mariette, A. 1889. Les mastabas de l’Ancien Empire. Paris: F. Vieweg.

Mariette, A. 1889a. Monuments divers recueillis en Égypte et en Nubie. Paris: F. Vieweg.

Maspero, G. 1871. Une Enquête judiciaire à Thébes au temps de la XXe Dynastie. Étude sur le papyrus Abbott. Mémoires de l’Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 7: 1–85.

Maspero, G. 1883. Guide du visiteur au Musée de Boulaq. Boulaq: Musée de Boulaq.

Maspero, G. 1897. Les jeux de dames en Égypte. Bibliotèque Égyptologique 5: 83–96.

Meyer, J.-W. 1986. Die Spielbretter KL 78:534 und KL:53d. In R. Hachmann (ed), Bericht über die Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen in Kamid el-Loz in den Jahren 1977 bis 1981. Bonn: Rudolf Habelt, 123–143.

Mond, R. 1904. Report of the work done in the Gebel ash-sheikh Abd-el-Kurneh at Thebes. Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Égypte 5: 97–104.

Montet,P. 1938. "Tombeaux de la Ire et de la IVe Dynasties à Abou Rouach." Kemi 7: 11-69.

Murray, H.J.R. 1951. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Muscarella, O. 1974. Ancient Art: The Norbert Schimmel Collection. Mainz: von Zabern.

Nash, W. 1902. Ancient Egyptian draughts-boards and draughts-men. Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 24(December): 341–348.

Naville, E. 1900. Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien. Texte. Lepizig: J.C. Hinrich.

Needler, W. 1953. A thirty-square draught board in the Royal Ontario Museum. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 39: 60–75.

Needler, W. 1983. 'Review of Das Senet-Brettspiel im alten Ägypten.' Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 20: 115–118.

Petrie, W.M.F. 1888. Tanis Part II: Nebesheh (Am) and Deffeneh (Tahpanhes). London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

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.

Petrie, W.M.F. et al. 1892. Medum. London: D. Nutt.

Piankoff, A. And H. Jacquet-Gordon. 1972. The Wandering of the Soul. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Piccione, P. 1984. 'Review of Das Senet-Brettpiel im alten Ägypten.' Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 70: 172–180.

Piccione, P. 1990. The Historical Development of the Game of Senet and its significance for Egyptian Religion. Unpublished Phd Thesis, University of Chicago.

Pieper, M. 1909. Das Brettspiel der alten Ägypter. Berlin: Weidmännische Buchhandlung.

Pieper, M. 1931. Ein text über das ägyptisches Brettspiel. Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 66: 16–33.

Pierret, P. 1878. Recueil d’inscriptions inédites du Musée égyptien du Louvre. Études égyptologues 8. Paris: F. Vieweg.

Porter, B and R. Moss. 1973. Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings. Volume 3: Memphis. Second edition. Revised by J. Malek. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Porter, B and R. Moss. 1980. Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings. Volume 3: Memphis. Second edition. Revised by J. Malek. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Porter, B. And R. Moss. 1960/1964. Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings.Vol 1 pt. 1: The Theban Necropolis: Private Tombs. Pt. 2: The Theban Necropolis: Royal Tombs. 2nd edition, revised. Oxford: Griffith Institute.

Porter, B. And R. Moss. 1972. Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings.Vol. 2: Theban Temples. 2nd edition, revised. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Prisse-d’Avennes, É. 1847. Monument égyptiens, bas-reliefs, peintures, inscriptions, etc. Paris: Didot frères.

Pusch, E. 1979. Das Senet-Brettspiel im Alten Ägypten. Munich: Deutsche Kunstverlag.

Quibbell, J. 1909. Excavations at Saqqara (1907–1908). Cairo: IFAO.

Quibbell, J. 1913. Excavations at Saqqara 1911–1912: The Mastaba of Hesy. Cairo: IFAO.

Randall-McIver, D. And A.C. Mace. 1902. El Amrah and Abydos 1899–1901. EM 23. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

Rast, W. and T. Shaub. 2003. Bâb edh-Dhrâ': Excavations at the Town Site (1975–1981). Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

Richard, S. and R. Boraas. 1984. 'Preliminary Report of the 1981–82 Seasons of the Expedition to Khirbet Iskander and its Vicinity.' Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 254: 63–87.

Riefstahl, E. Ancient Egyptian Glass and Glazes in the Brooklyn Museum. New York: The Brooklyn Museum.

Romano, I, W. Tait, C. Bisulca, P. Creasman, G. Hodgins, and T. Wazny. 2018. An Ancient Egyptian senet board in the Arizona State Museum. Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 145(1): 71–85.

Saqqara Expedition. 1938. The Mastaba of Mereruka. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Schiaparelli, E. 1927. Relazione sui lavori della missione archeologica Italiana in Egitto II. Turin.

Schott, G. 1986. Ancient Egyptian Art at Yale. New Haven: Yale University Arts Gallery.

Sebbane, M. 2001. 'Board Games from Canaan in the Early and Intermediate Bronze Ages and the Origin of the Egyptian Senet Game.' Tel Aviv 28:213–230.

Sebbane, M. 2004. 'Appendix: And Incised Senet Board Game.' In D. Ussishkin (ed), The Renewed Arcahaeological Excavations at Lachish (1973–1994). Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, 690–694.

Seele, K. The Tomb of Tjanefer at Thebes. Oriental Institute Publication 86. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Seyffarth, G. 1833. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Literatur, Kunst, Mythologie und Geschichte des Alten Ägypten. Volume III. Laipzig: J.A. Barth.

Shai, I, H. Greenfield, J. Regev, E. Boaretto, A. Eliyahu-Behar, and A. Maeir. 2014. 'The Early Bronze Age Remains at Tell exs-Safi/Gath: An Interim Report. Tel Aviv 41: 20–49.

Simpson, W.K. 1976. Giza Mastabas 2: The Mastabas of Qar and Idu. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts.

Smith, W.S. 1949. A History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts.

South, A., P. Russell and P. Keswani. 1989. Vasilikos Valley Project 3: Kalavasos Ayios-Dhimitrios II(Ceramics, Objects, Tombs, Specialist Studies). Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 71.3. Göteborg: Paul Åströms Förlag.

Swiny, S, G. Rapp and E. Herscher. 2003. Sotira Kaminoudhia: An Early Bronze Age Site in Cyprus. American Schools of Oriental Research Reports, Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute Monographs 4. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research.

Swiny, S. 1981. Bronze Age Settlement Patterns in Southwest Cyprus. Levant 13: 51–87.

Swiny, S. 1986. The Kent State University Expedition to Episkopi Phaneromeni. Nicosia: Paul Åströms Förlag.

Tait, W. 1982. Game-boxes and Accessories from the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Oxford: Griffiths Institute.

Todd, I. 1993. Kalavassos-Laroumena: Test Excavation of a Middle Bronze Age Settlement. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, 81–96.

Townshend, P. 1986. Games in culture: A contextual analysis of the Swahili board game and its relevance to vaariation in African mankala. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Cambridge.

Wallis, H. 1898. Egyptian Ceramic Art: The MacGregor Collection. London: Taylor & Francis.

Wiedemann, A. 1897. Das Brettspiel bei den Alten Ägyptern. In Actes du Dixième Congrès Internationale des Orientalistes, 1894. Leiden: Brill, 35–61.

Wild, H. 1979. La tombe de Nefer-hotep (I) et Neb-nefer à Deir el-Medina (No. 6). Mémoires publiées par les membres de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 103. Cairo: Institue Français de l’Archéologie Orientale.

Yadin, Y. 1960. Hazor II. Jerusalem: Magres Press.

Identifiers

DLP.Game.3

BGG.2399

     Contact Us
     ludii.games@gmail.com
     cameron.browne@maastrichtuniversity.nl

lkjh Maastricht University
Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE)
Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229 EN Maastricht, Netherlands
This project is funded by a 2m euro
ERC Consolidator Grant from the
European Research Council