Oldest Numbers Ever Found

As for actual numbers,

narmermacehead“The Narmer macehead is an ancient Egyptian decorative stone mace head. It was found during a dig at Kom al Akhmar, the site of Hierakonpolis (ancient Egyptian Nekhen.) It is dated to the reign of king Narmer whose serekh is engraved on it. Today it is kept at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Narmer was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period (c. 32nd century BC). He is thought to be the successor to the Protodynastic pharaohs Scorpion (or Selk) and/or Ka, and he is considered by some to be the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty, and therefore the first pharaoh of unified Egypt.”

 

narmermace

 

The numerals occupy the center of the lower register. Four tadpoles below the ox, each meaning 100,000, record 400,000 oxen. The sky- lifting Heh- god behind the goat was the hieroglyph for “one million”; together with the four tadpoles and the two “10,000” fingers below the goat, and the double “1,000” lotus- stalk below the god, this makes 1,422,000 goats. To the right of these animal quantities, one tadpole and two fingers below the captive with his arms tied behind his back count 120,000 prisoners. These quantities makes Narmer’s mace the earliest surviving document with numbers from Egypt, and the earliest surviving document with such large numbers from anywhere on the planet.

NarmerMacehead_detail

“The quantities on Narmer’s Heb-Sed mace happen to combine, with good accuracy and in three closely related ways, two major mathematical constants that have intrigued many number researchers, phi and pi.

Some people claim these same constants were also embedded in the proportions of the Great Pyramid and other ancient Egyptian monuments, but many mainstream scholars assert those ratios got there by accident, without the builders’ knowledge or intent.”

From Wikipedia and “Ancient Creation Stories told by the Numbers”, by H. Peter Aleff on Recovered Science.com.

For an explanation of Egyptian numbers, see “Rhind Papyrus“.

 

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