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    Archaeologists find 600-year-old chess piece in northwest Russia

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    Archaeologists in northwest Russia have discovered a chess piece dating back to the late 14th century, a spokesman for local archaeologists said on Friday.

    VELIKY NOVGOROD, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - Archaeologists in northwest Russia have discovered a chess piece dating back to the late 14th century, a spokesman for local archaeologists said on Friday.

    "The king, around several centimeters tall, is made of solid wood, possibly of juniper," the spokesman said.

    The excavations are being carried out at the site of the Palace of Facets, in the Novgorod Kremlin in Veliky Novgorod. The palace is believed to be the oldest in Russia.

    According to the city chronicles, chess as a competitive game emerged in Veliky Novgorod, the foremost historic city in northwest Russia, in the 13th century, but was banned in 1286 by the church.

    However, besides the king, archeologists in the region have found a total of 82 chess pieces dating back to at least the 14th century, showing that the game remained popular among the local population despite the church ban.

    In late May, archaeologists in the ancient city uncovered a number of medieval baby bottles. Medieval Slavs made feeding bottles by attaching leather bags to the wider part of a cow's horn. The babies drank milk from holes made in the tip of the horns.

    The first historical mention of Veliky Novgorod was in 859 AD. City chronicles say that by 862 AD it was already a stop on the trading route between the Baltics and Byzantium.

    The city will celebrate its 1150th anniversary in 2009.

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