Warra → German.
|First Description: Felix |
von Luschan, 1919
|Cycles: One (?)|
|Ranks: Two (?)|
|Sowing: Single laps (?)|
Warra was mentioned by the Austrian anthropologist Felix von Luschan (1854-1924) in 1919 as a mancala game played in predominantly black states in the south of the USA. He saw the game several times at the Mississippi river in Louisiana and was told in New Orleans that it was brought under the same name by colored people even to San Francisco. No rules were recorded by him (the game could be a variant of Oware) and nobody appears to have researched the game in detail. It could be related to artifacts discovered by archaeologists at former plantations in Louisiana such as buttons which may have been used for playing this game at Evergreen Plantation, Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation, Orange Grove and Oakley plantations and pieces of glass and ceramic modified into gaming pieces that were found at numerous plantation sites in Virginia (Monticello, Pohoke, Poplar Forest, Portici, Wilton), the Robinson House and the Nash site in the Manassas National Battlefield Park near Washington, D.C. and in Maryland (Garrison Plantation). Archaeologists have also recovered molded pieces of glass used as pieces for mancala at New Philadelphia, a lost western Illinois town where blacks and whites lived together in peace and freedom a quarter century before the Civil War. Similar shaped and sanded fragments of 18th century English earthen wares are also known from African-American sites in Jamaica (Drax Hall) and Montserrat (Galways Plantation).
In 2009, Charles Goode and Jerome S. Handler published an alternative interpretation of these artifacts. They wrote that the pieces of glass and ceramic were just gizzard stones or gastroliths, which have been held inside the digestive tract of an animal for the purpose of food-grinding.
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