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The 93 Lewis chessmen, bought by the British Museum and by what is now the National Museum of Scotland in the mid nineteenth century, were made in twelfth-century Scandinavia, from ivory and whales' teeth. They continue to fascinate academics from various disciplines. In 2014 six of the British Museum's collection will be moved and displayed in a purpose-built museum in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, near where they were discovered almost two hundred years ago.
As David Caldwell says: 'The beauty of the Lewis chessmen and their significance in the development of the game of chess are factors which have overshadowed other matters relating to their origin and provenance.'
So the chapters in this scholarly book look, for example, at the landscape of Scotland's western seaboard, at medieval politics and kingship and at the ivory trade in the north Atlantic as the time the chessmen were made.