Cultural transmission in the ancient Near East: twenty squares and fifty-eight holes
Board games have a wide and complex distribution in the ancient world. Two board games from antiquity that were transmitted across the borders of empires and city states and played for nearly two millennia show only minor changes in the appearance of the board. This lack of branching for antique board games can be explained by the abstract characteristics of the games and the dominance of certain cultures in antiquity. A historical analysis of their transmission process supports this hypothesis. âº Board games allow us to separate ecological from ethnogenetic and phylogenetic processes. âº Expansive areas and long time periods do not necessarily change the physical appearance of game boards. âº Diffusion patterns, rates of change, and cultural transmission mechanisms differ per board game.