Mordechai Wolfson


M.A. Research Topic: Dice and Board Games in the Private Sphere in Palestine During Late Antiquity

Advisor: Prof. Zeev Weiss

Abstract: In my research, I plan to examine various aspects of dice and board games, in both the practical and cultural aspects. This research will include an analysis of the archaeological findings from Sepphoris in order to characterize and define the different games and comparing the Sepphoris findings to those from other sites. I will also examine the historical sources which have information about games in the Roman world in order to determine if the findings in Sepphoris match the sources. In addition, I will examine the Rabbinic sources concerning dice and board games. The goal of the research is twofold. First, to provide information about the games themselves, and second, to examine the attitude of the Sages toward these games and those who played them. Of special interest is to determine whether in a city like Sepphoris, with a mixed Jewish and Pagan population, is it possible to define specific games which were played by only one of the populations and not the other? Or were these games a meeting place between the Pagan population to the Jewish one? These are just some of the questions which arise from the research I would like to carry out.

Research Interests:

  • The Classical periods in Israel.
  • The relation between texts and Archaeology, especially Rabbinic texts (“Talmudic Archaeology”).
  • The relationship between the Jewish and Gentile population in Israel during the Roman-Byzantine period.


  • Thesis about dice and board games in Palestine during Late antiquity.
  • Sepphoris excavation team.