GALLERY of ANCIENT DICE

"Westerwanna" Dice

So-called "Westerwanna" dice were used by Germanic people before the Migration Period (400-600 AD), and were named for the site of their initial discovery in Lower Saxony.

I received the following information from Christian Küchelmann (Archaeozoology Lab, Groninger Instituut voor Archeologie (GIA), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands):

1) Bischop, Dieter (2001): Die römische Kaiserzeit und frühe Völkerwanderungszeit zwischen Weser und Hunte, pp 74-75, 88-89, 216, Oldenburg: Isensee
2) Hermsen, Ivo (2000): Een opmerkelijke dobbelsteen uit Didam (Gld.), Westerheem 4, link
3) Krüger, Thomas (1982): Das Brett- und Würfelspiel der Spätlatènezeit und römischen Kaiserzeit im freien Germanien. – Neue Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in Niedersachsen 15, pp. 135-324, Hildesheim
4) Roes, Anna (1963): Bone and antler objects from the Frisian terp-mounds, p. 53, Haarlem: H. D. Tjeenk Willink
5) Van der Heijdt, Leo (1990): Oog in Oog – 5000 jaar dobbelsteen en dobbelspel, pp. 72, 146, Flevolaan-Naarden: Strengholt
6) Von Buttel-Reepen, H. (1927): Ein vorgeschichtlicher Würfel und weitere Forschungsergebnisse aus dem Gräberfeld von Helle, Gemeinde Zwischenahn. Übersicht über Würfelfunde.
– Oldenburger Jahrbuch 31, pp. 281-290,

Chr. Küchelmann found information concerning 38 Westerwanna dice: 29 are from the Roman Iron Age (1st-3rd century AD) and were found in Germanic contexts in Niedersachsen and Schleswig-Holstein.
Two of these, the one from Barrien-Krusenberg (Bischop 2001, 74-77, fig. 49.2, 51) and the one from Thorsberg
(Bischop 2001, 74; Krüger 1982, 142-154, 240, 317-318, fig. 45.14, kat. no. 221; von Buttel-Reepen 1927, 288-289) are from archaeologically insecure contexts
that may range into the migration period (1st-7th century AD and 3rd-5th century AD respectively).
The dating for the 11 finds from terps in Groningen and Friesland is given as 4th - 5th century AD (Roes 1963, 53, pl. 44.4-14; van der Heijdt 1990, 72, 146).
All those for which information about the numbering is given (n = 38) have combinations of 2-5 and 3-4.

The dice are typically marked with dot-and-ring figures and have often decorative markings on the two small faces.

Very rare. Please let me know if you have more information about these type of dice.

[0127] Bone, 26x16 mm, Roman: 1st c. AD, 1-6, 2-5



[0183] Bone/horn, 24x14x12 mm, Roman: 2nd-3rd c. AD, 1-6, 2-5



[0193] Bone, 24x16 mm, Roman, 1-6, 2-2 (2 sides marked with 2!!)