## Topic outline

- General
- Introduction
### Introduction

Take a look at Babylonian mathematics - which is still in use when you work with time (60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour...) and astrology. In this short course, you will learn how a series of discoveries have enabled historians to decipher stone tablets and study the various techniques the Babylonians used for problem-solving and teaching.

## Learning Outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

- know something about cuneiform how it was used to represent numbers for mathmatical problem solving and computation;

- understand the relationship between a decimal
*place-value*system and a*sexagesimal one*;

- appreciate the advanced understanding of mathematics in Ancient Mesopotamia in relation to anyone in medieval Christian Europe 3000 years later.

- Lessons
### Lessons

Follow along with the lessons to begin to learn how to Babylonian mathematics worked.

The Babylonian problem-solving skills have been described as remarkable and scribes of the time received a training far in advance of anything available in medieval Christian Europe 3000 years later.

The tablet is called Plimpton 322, and is described by Neugebauer (The Exact Sciences in Antiquity (Dover, 1969) p. 40) as ‘one of the most remarkable documents of Old-Babylonian mathematics’. The name...

The extant mathematical tablets from the Old Babylonian period fall broadly into two categories, table texts and problem texts. ...

In conclusion, what is Babylonian mathematics about? Although it is not easy to answer this question precisely, because of the difficulties of interpretation such as you saw with Plimpton 322, the overwhelming...

- Additional resources
### Additional resources

- Doblhofer, Ernst, Voices in Stone (Paladin, 1973; orig. edn. 1957). Not especially mathematical, but a good account of the decipherment of hieroglyphs and cuneiform texts if you want to follow that up....