Chess piece finds in Sandomierz and a conference volume

Late - but certainly not too late!

The Cultural Role of Chess in Medieval and Modern Times - Cover
The Cultural Role of Chess in Medieval and Modern Times - Cover

by Siegfried Schönle [You can find the original article in German here. Translation by DeepL]

Who among the chess piece collectors and chess book collectors knows right away where Sandomierz is and what was found there? Certainly very few!

I didn't know, or more precisely: I didn't know anything about this place!

Sandomierz is a place in Poland, located south-west of Lublin and about 230 kilometres south of Warsaw.

A conference of Polish and international researchers, organised and led by Ms. Agnieszka Stempin, dealt with the sensational finds from the years around 1968. The conference took place after 50 years, in 2018, under the title:
The Cultural Role of Chess in Medieval and Modern Times
50th Anniversary Jubilee of the Sandomierz Chess Discovery

This highly recommended conference volume [MUZEUM ARCHEOLOGICZNE W POZNANIU BIBLIOTHECA FONTES ARCHAEOLOGICI POSNANIENSES, Vol. 21] was edited by Ms. Agnieszka Stempin and is printed entirely in English. The lectures and essays are divided into 5 groups:

  1. Sandomierz Chess in the Context of the Medieval Chess Finds from Poland – 50 years of Mystery
  2. Archaeology of Chess – Between East and West
  3. Terminology and Image of Chess in Medieval Written Sources
  4. Around the Game
  5. Reminiscences

For further and more detailed information, the table of contents is provided here and it will be seen that the conference did not only deal with the figurine finds in Sandomierz, but also placed them in the context of numerous finds from Poland and in a wider European framework.

I would also like to emphasise the very good quality of the photographs of the figures, the places where they were found and the explanatory graphics on the 248 pages.

The volume can be ordered from Ms. Agnieszka Stempin of the Museum of Archaeology in Poznan (Poznan) for approx. 22 euros + postage.


Siegfried Schönle (Kassel), February 2024

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