Twenty four small bone dice: late 15th century
© Museum of London
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Twenty four bone dice, laid out in a grid pattern. These bone dice were found in a pewter container, they are all fraudulent (fights often broke out over gambling disputes). Three of these group of dice have the numbers one to three repeated, so one always throws low numbers with them; three of them only have numbers four to six. These were known as low or high 'despatchers'. X-rays showed that all the others had been weighted with drops of mercury in one side or another. These 'loaded' dice would fall in the same way every time. Eleven of them tend to show five or six, the others show one or two. Gambling with dice was very popular in London in the 1500s, and crooked dice were used to fool gullible punters. Loaded dice were called 'fulhams' – presumably Fulham was notorious as the haunt of dice-sharpers.
1460 AD - 1500 AD