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 Museum Explorer

Daily life in
Ancient Greece

Women playing knucklebones

Height: 5.500 inches

GR 1867.5-10.1 (Terracotta D 161)

Women playing knucklebones

From: Capua; made in southern Italy
Date: about 330-300 BC

These girls are playing a game that was popular with children and young women in ancient Greece. If you know how to play the game of jacks, you will recognise astragaloi (or 'knucklebones' ).

The players threw the knucklebones up in the air and tried to catch as many as possible on the back of one hand as they fell. The knucklebones were in fact anklebones of sheep or goats, or models of them. Can you work out who is winning the game?