The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (III)

There also are some Mesopotamian astronomical and mathematcal tablets in the Ashmolean Museum. For example, these two tablets are two proto-cuneiform clay tablets from an administrative building. They contain receipts of objects and grain, accounts and possibly rations and it’s possible to distinguish the units, the tens and the sixties:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Next clay tablet records date palms, orchards and gardeners in Akkadian cuneiform (2350-2150 BC):

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Perhaps, the next clay tablet is the most interesting mathematical one because of its diagram. It’s a school tablet from 1900-1600 BC with a mathematical exercise showing a triangle with the incorrect calculation of the area of a field:s

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

In Eleanor Robson’s Mathematical cuneiform tablets in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, we find an explanation about this tablet:

Type IV tablet with upper right portion missing and reverse blank where preserved. Geometrical diagram of a triangle, showing the two lengths and an erroneous value for the area. Found in Trench C-10, 1 metre from surface level, 2 metres from plain level, with two other Type IV tablets bearing elementary exercises […].

The correct answer is 3;45 · 1;52,30 · 0;30 = 3;30,56,15

The error appears to have arisen through misplacing the sexagesimal place of one part of an intermediate calculation […]

Source: Robson's Mathematical cueniform tablets...

Source: Robson’s Mathematical cueniform tablets

There also is a clay prism with table of linear measures and squares roots (1950-1700 BC) from Southern Iraq:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Finally, I took a photography of the clay tablet with astronomical observations copied by a scribe in the early 8th century BC from Iraqian Kish. It gives the dates of the rising and settings of Venus in the reign of Ammizaduqa, king of Babylon in the 17th century BC:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Location: The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (map)

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