With thanks to Alan Mason
Most people think that the study of mathematics has its origins in Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, but this view was dramatically challenged in the 1950’s with the discovery of a small animal bone, inscribed with markings that appear to represent numbers.
This artefact was discovered in the small African fishing village of Ishango, on the border of Zaire and Uganda by the Belgian geologist Jean de Heinzelin.
The Ishango Bone now lies at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels, and has been dated to around 20,000 BC. It is thought to be the oldest mathematical artefact ever discovered.
At first glance the bone appears to be a simple writing tool. It is 10 cm long, and at one end is embedded with a piece of quartz thought to be for engraving and tattooing. Closer examination reveals a series of notches running up the side of the bone, in three columns……..
Read more here The Ishango Bone.