the Ishango bone the exhibition
introduction deciphering the bone Ishango map the discoverer

deciphering the bone

"The oldest mathematical object known to humankind...", an exaggerated claim ?

Itís up to you to decide... here are two examples:

Three notches have been made at the top of the bone.
This is followed by 6 notches, four then eight.
This points to a knowledge of multiplication by 2 !

Adding together the number of notches in each ę column Ľ gives the following totals : 60, 48 and 60. All multiples of 12. It is hard to believe this a pure coincidence.

And donít forget... this object is older than the Lascaux cave paintings...