Hnefetafl Board & Pieces

A Hnefetafl Board and Pieces entered in an A&S competition

Life as a Professional Time Traveller

TaflHiberno-Norse, circa late 9th century – early 10th century.

Lady Elinor Strangewayes, OM.

Entered at Northern Lights A&S Competition, 2010.
Categories: 17. Woodwork; 20. Glass; 30. Toys.
Won the glass and toys categories.


Hnefatafl is a strategy board game similar to chess. Although hnefatafl is of Norse origin, many Northern European cultures played variant games of close resemblance. This particular hnefatafl board is a cultural composite that is plausible due to documented cultural cross-pollination.

The Game Board: I chose to base my board on the Ballinderry Game Board, discovered in 1932 during excavations at Ballinderry, West Meath, Ireland. The Ballinderry board has been dated to approximately the 10th century, based on its decorations’ similarity to documented boards of that period from the Isle of Man.1 The Ballinderry board is a 7×7 board, but I chose to expand it to the more traditional 9×9 board.


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