Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by Drexel University or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Inactive » math-history-list

Topic: Scribal division reported within a volume unit
Replies: 13   Last Post: Mar 2, 2011 12:21 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Milo Gardner

Posts: 1,105
Registered: 12/3/04
Scribal division reported within a volume unit
Posted: Oct 3, 2009 9:15 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Scribal division during the Middle Kingdom has been a topic of controversy for 80 yesrs. Single false position, a medieval root-finding method, was proposed in the 1920's as representative of scribal arithmetic thinking.

In 2006 a paper on the Akhmim Wooden Tablet (AWT) was published in India that showed that scribal division followed another intellectual structure. The updated arithmetic operation looked and acted more like our modern definition of division, and looked nothing like the single false position method.

The 1900 BCE AWT context was the division of a volume unit named a hekat, written as a hekat unity (64/64) such that (64/64)/n created a binary quotient and a (5/5) scaled remainder written as a 1/320th of a hekat.

A Planetmath entry offers additional details on the topic per:

http://planetmath.org/encyclopedia/AhmesBirdFeedingRateMethod.html

Best Regards,

Milo Gardner



Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© Drexel University 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.