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around 1–100 CE

Icosahedral Die with Divine Entities

Rolling divinities on an icosahedral die

This unique slightly irregular icosahedral die from Greco-Roman Egypt, likely dating to around 1–100 CE, contains the name of a divine entity on each of its 20 faces.

Icosahedral Die with Divine Entities

In contrast to other icosahedra known from Greco-Roman Egypt, this die is not inscribed with Greek or Latin letters but with divine names written in Demotic script. It was found at Qaret el-Muzzawaqa, Egypt at the western end of the Dakhla Oasis in the 1980s and is now is housed in the Kharga Heritage Museum.

Artifact dimensions

5 cm × 6 cm

Original artifact location

Dakhla Oasis (historical name), al-Wadi al-Jadid, Egypt (current name)

Current artifact location

Kharga Heritage Museum, Egypt


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Computational Explanation

Other Resources

Additional Reading

  • Gill, J. C. R. Dakhleh Oasis and the Western Desert of Egypt Under the Ptolemies. Oxford, England and Philadelphia, PA: Oxbow Books, 2016.
  • Horster, G. "Antike Polyeder: Vom Spiel mit Form und Zahl im Ptolemaïschen Ägypten zum Kleinod in Römischen Europa." In Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Vol. 132, p. 147, cat. III.B.14, 2017.
  • Minas-Nerpel, M. "A Demotic Inscribed Icosahedron from Dakhleh Oasis." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 93, pp. 137–148, 2007.