"A senet board in the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum might show the earliest stages in this redesign [of the senet board]. The board lacks the hieroglyphics symbolizing the soul, but square 27—which in earlier boards featured a simple X—now carries a hieroglyphic symbol for water. This is thought by archaeologists to indicate some sort of lake or river the Egyptians believed the soul encountered on its journey through Duat.
“It may be one of the first times that this aspect of the journey through the afterlife is visually rendered on the board,” says Walter Crist, an archaeologist at Maastricht University who describes the Rosicrucian board in a new paper in The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.
The age and archaeological context of the Rosicrucian board are unclear—the artifact may have been bought on the antiquities market in the 19th century. But it has an unusual reverse layout, with the “start” square in the bottom where the “finish” square usually is. Crist says this style is unique to Egypt’s Middle Kingdom period, between 4000 and 3700 years ago. Given this unusual layout, and the not fully religious but not fully secular symbols on squares 26 to 29, Crist believes the Rosicrucian board is about 3500 years old."
Ancient Egyptian senet board may signal shift from mere pastime to a more serious game