ALMOST 180 YEARS of scholarship on the Lewis chessmen have given us a solid foundation of understanding, primarily based upon their art-historical analysis. Taking a more interdisciplinary approach (combining elements of art history with archaeology and history), this paper focuses on some over-looked themes — primarily the archaeological, gaming and political contexts of the 12th- and 13th-century North Sea world — and some more familiar themes but in a new light. We suggest a more fluid composition and function of the gaming hoard,with at least four sets of chessmen from the same workshop conceivably made for use in Lewis, possibly in the early 13th century.
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National Museums Scotland
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