In 1926-27, the British archeologist Leonard Woolley, while excavating in the royal tombs of Sumer (modern Iraq), discovered four game boards and a number of playing pieces.
The tombs were in the city of Ur (in red on the map on the left), once the capital of Sumer about 2500 B.C., and the legendary home of the Biblical Abraham. This area is in the "fertile crescent", south of Baghdad and Babylon. There are many references to Woolley's discovery, complete with a number of colorful photographs such as the one below. Woolley's finds are now held by the British Museum.
Learn about the game and how to play!
Via David Connolly