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Late Medieval; late 15th century
On Display: Museum of London: Medieval London: Effect of the Black Death and Medicine: Costs of Living
Bird seed pot, found on the Thames foreshore with a set of 24 false dice inside. The front of the pot is decorated with an eagle and a lozenge pattern. Three of the small bone dice have the numbers one to three repeated so that they always fall on low numbers; three of them have only numbers four to six. These were known as low or high 'despatchers'. X-rays show that all the others dice have been weighted with drops of mercury in one side or another. These 'loaded' dice would fall the same way every time. Eleven of them tend to show five or six, the others one or two. Gambling with dice was very popular in London in the 1500s, and crooked dice were used to fool gullible punters. Fights often broke out over gambling disputes. Loaded dice were called 'fulhams' - presumably the Thames-side village of Fulham was notorious as the haunt of dice-sharpers.
H 34 mm; W 45 mm
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