board game board game When monks in Israel's Galilee got bored, they played this game (photo of a modern game board). (Photo: FooTToo / Shutterstock)

Discovery: Ancient Roman monks were really into this board game

Excavations at Israel's Montfort Castle reveal a whole lot of other cool things about ancient Roman lifestyles.

Ever wondered what ancient Roman monks did for fun? We've got you covered.

Archaeologists have been doing lots of excavations in Montfort Castle, an ancient Roman palace located in northern Israel, and they found a whole lot of stuff, including art, stable equipment and other daily life things.

The castle was quite isolated, even for an ancient castle, and the monks apparently got bored. Perhaps that's why archaeologists recently uncovered a game board and game pieces there.

Montford CastleThe Great Hall in Montfort Castle. (Photo: Adrian Boas)

What game did they find, you may ask? Well, it wasn't Roman Monopoly, although we wouldn't be surprised if Hasbro had such a version. It was a board game called "Nine Man Morris," and people still play it today.

The board is a grid. Players try to get rid of other players' pieces, and the game ends when one player only has a few pieces left. The game is sometimes printed on the back of regular checkers boards.

a ceramic oil lamp and stained glassThe monks apparently appreciated art. The researchers found a ceramic oil lamp and stained glass. (Photo: Adrian Boas)

Nine Man Morris goes by a whole bunch of other names: The Mill Game, Merels, Ninepenny Marl and our personal favorite, Cowboy Checkers. We imagine the Romans called it something more Latin-y, although we'd be delighted if they went with the cowboy version.

In the stables, the researchers found a Mason's mark, horseshoes and iron rings.In the stables, the researchers found a Mason's mark, horseshoes and iron rings. (Photo: Adrian Boas)

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