James Madison chess pieces unearthed at US estate





Archaeologists at James Madison's country estate say they have unearthed fragments of a chess set they think Madison used in matches against another former president, Thomas Jefferson.

Archaeologists recently discovered fragments of two pawns during an excavation at the Orange County estate of the fourth US president and architect of the Bill of Rights. They initially mistook the quarter-inch diameter tops for sewing bobbins, but subsequently determined they were fragments of chess pieces.

Matthew Reeves, director of archaeology at the rural, 2,650-acre (1,072-hectare) estate, called the pieces "a treasure from the past reflecting James Madison's intellectual pursuits and social life."

Thomas Jefferson's granddaughter, Ellen Wayles Coolidge, once remarked that the third and fourth presidents often engaged in epic chess matches. She wrote that her grandfather was a very good chess player in his youth....




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John R. Maass - 2/7/2011

Madison was just a pawn in a political game.

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