This a replica of the game found by Leonard Woolley in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. Examples of this 'Game of Twenty Squares' date from about 3000 BC to the first millennium AD and are found widely from the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to India. A version of the Mesopotamian game survived within the Jewish community at Cochin, South India until modern times.
Marcus came across the original game in the British Museum when he was looking for ancient symmetrical objects. The dice are one of the earliest examples of man made symmetry, and were fashioned this way to ensure that the game was fair. Previously players had used the knuckle bones of sheep as dice, but these were considered unfair as they did not land accurately.