The history of bowling: Part 1


Bowling is today one of the most popular pastimes around the world. Its simple format, all-inclusive nature and gently competitive spirit all make for a game that can be played by anyone.

But have you ever wondered where this now ubiquitous sport came from? Who first decided to collect a bunch of pins, neatly arrange them in a row - and proceed to knock them down with a heavy ball?

Join us as we scour the history books to chart the origins and development of bowling!

In the first part of the series, we look at where it all began - in an ancient civilisation you probably didn’t expect…

The Game of the Pharaohs

Many people believe that the first proper form of this popular sport originated in Ancient Egypt.

Back in the 1930s, Sir Flinders Petrie, a British anthropologist, was digging around an Ancient Egyptian child's grave when he stumbled upon a collection of items which loosely resembled a bowling ball and pins.

This dates the game back to as early as 3200 BC.

So next time your sports-mad friend rambles on about the 'proud and rich' history of soccer or rugby, you can tell them that bowling far outdates both of them!

When in Rome…

Not to be outdone by their rivals, the Ancient Romans apparently played a similar game in their own backyards.

Their version involved throwing a stone towards an arrangement of other stones, and seeing how close it landed.

Does this sound familiar at all? Experts reckon that this game was the earliest form of modern bowls or petanque.

As you can see, bowling wasn't just suddenly invented a few decades ago. It is a sport rich in history that dates back to ancient times.

Stay tuned for the next part in our series, in which we continue our bowling story through the ages!