Abstract: The Deep Prehistory of Indian Gaming: The Perspective from Mesoamerica

Lecturer: Barbara Voorhies

Although it was not until the early 1980s that high stakes Indian Gaming was permitted in the United States, at the time of the arrival of Europeans in North America high stakes gambling was widespread among indigenous peoples.  This is particularly well documented in Mesoamerica where 16th century historians describe a variety of games of chance (e.g., dice games) and games of skill (e.g., rubber ball game, bowling, checkers).  At least some of these games involved heavy gambling on the part of both players and onlookers.  Archaeologists have been able to trace the origins of some of these games back into deep prehistory.  In this presentation Dr. Voorhies will present an overview of Mesoamerican games and her recent discovery of a probable scoreboard for a dice game dating back to approximately 2400 B.C.

Featured Lecturer

Jodi Magness is with the Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism. She... Read More

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