In 1831, a small stone chest was found in a dune of Uig Beach by chance. Inside, 93 chess pieces were stored. But it’s not just any chess game! The pieces are made of walrus ivory and whale tooth and date back to the 12th century.
Those figurines travelled a long way to get there. They were probably made in Trondheim, Norway. At the time, the Isle of Lewis was part of the Kingdom of Norway. We will never know why they were buried there, but their faces fascinate me.
Half-dramatic, half-comical, I saw six of those figurines at the Nan Eilean Museum in Stornoway. The others are in Edinburgh and at the British Museum in London. Finely chiselled, they are a moving testimony of medieval Scotland. To pay tribute to them, I bought a copy of the king and I took this picture.