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[teacherartexchange] Royal Game of Ur - Mesopotamia (Marcia)


From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Sep 19 2006 - 06:07:39 PDT

Dear Marcia,

Here is an old post of mine..... The link that was originally posted
with the images of art is no longer active.

Make a ceramic game board with stamped designs - Royal Game of Ur -
Social studies and math integration. You could make a cardboard board
instead of clay.

Soft-cut squares - cut 1 1/4" (one inch erasers could be used), lino cutting
tools. Clay, rolling pins, canvas cloth, 3/8" guide sticks, clay tools
(needles/knives for cutting out slabs)

There is a 5000 year old game that was found in the ruins at UR. Students
can learn how to play the game online (uses shockwave).

The game is very easy to play - and rules are simple. It does involve
a little math strategy. Then they can make their own game. Each table
of students would have
different set of approx. 1 1/4" square stamps. One person at each table
would have to make the Rosette square (the safe square and get a free
turn) - the rest of the stamps could be any pattern. Students would make
their stamps out of Soft-cut (or use linoleum squares or scratch foam
squares or art gum erasers - or even clay stamps).

You can make a template for the game itself. - approx 5" x 12"
(you can make the template using graph paper - allowing 1/4 inch between
each stamp). Have students roll out a long slab big enough for the
template - then stamp their game board being very careful to put the rosette
stamps in the correct positions (five free squares in all). Eight stamps
long and three stamps wide. Then cut out the game and put on wood board to
dry (use a paper separator). Make game pieces and dice out of clay (the
actual dice found were triangular in shape). Students would put one dot on
three sides of a clay cubes for the dice - since one dot is all that is used
(need four dice). They could make their own game pieces too - 7 discs for
each player (or they could use two different colors of buttons).

Once the game boards are fired - they can color the patterns of the
rosettes with
markers and color one set of game pieces with marker. Give the board a stain
of brownish black to antique it - color the spaces between the stamped
designs and then clear coat. To make it easier on yourself - you can make
the game pieces and dice out of self hardening clay so those wouldn't need
to be fired. If you chose to use firing clay - - fire the game pieces on top
of the student's game boards (student names will be on the bottom of the
game board) I suppose you could put initials on the bottom of the playing

While they are waiting for the game boards to dry and be fired - they can do
a printmaking project using the soft-cut squares - creating different kinds
of patterns.

Here are links to more information about the game: (path for moving the pieces is
different) (has more game
Since it is unknown exactly how the game was played - students can read
through the directions given on these sites and then come up with their own
set of rules. The online Shockwave game differs slightly from the
instructions found on these sites.

Marcia, if you try this, send me a photo of student sample then I will
write this up as a lesson plan for IAD....

Students could weave a small bag to hold their game pieces.

I would suggest the social studies teacher purchase a game... many can
be found on line (just enter Royal Game of Ur in Google). Several
museum shops carry it.


Judy Decker
Incredible Art Department (IAD)
Incredible Art Resources

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