Mathematics, Very Old - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Mathematics

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Tally Bones

An early evidence of a "mathematical system" was found on a bone discovered in the Czech Republic. It dates from about 30,000 B.C.E. The bone contains fifty-five individual tally marks, divided into eleven groups of five marks each, just as tally marks might be grouped today. There is a dividing line, separating the first twenty-five marks from the remaining twenty, that makes totaling the tally marks even easier. No one knows just what the bone's owner was counting, but it may have been domestic animals such as sheep or some type of game animal.

Another ancient tally bone is the Ishango Bone, found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Ishango Bone dates from 9000 B.C.E. to 6500 B.C.E. It is a bone tool handle, and it also contains tally marks that were probably used to keep a record of domestic...

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This section contains 2,055 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Mathematics, Very Old Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Mathematics
Mathematics, Very Old from Macmillan Science Library: Mathematics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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