Senet is considered the oldest board game in the world. Originally from predynastic and ancient Egypt, the oldest hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to around 3100 BC.
It is also featured in a painting from the tomb of Merknera (3300–2700 BC). Another painting of this game is from the Third Dynasty tomb of Hesy (c. 2686–2613 BC). It is also shown in a painting in the tomb of Rashepes (c. 2500 BC).
The Senet gameboard is a grid of thirty squares, which is arranged in three rows of ten. A Senet board has two sets of pawns (at least five of each and, in some game sets, more, as well as shorter games with fewer). The actual rules of the game are a topic of some debate among scholars.
By the time of the New Kingdom in Egypt (1550–1077 BC), the game had become a kind of talisman for the journey of the dead. Consequently, Senet boards were usually placed in the grave alongside other useful objects for the journey through the afterlife.