5 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2023
    1. Cuneiform account keeping began with numerical signs in Uruk-phase Sumer (Schmandt-Besserat Reference Schmandt-Besserat1996), which by the Late Uruk period formed the precursor for writing in its combination of numerals and associated images (Englund Reference Englund, Radner and Robson2011), exactly what we have identified.
    2. Sumerologists place the origins of the development of writing around 3300 bc in the pictograms associated with abstract marks representing numbers; ‘the writing system invented or developed … of a pictographic character; its signs were drawings’ and cuneiform gradually developed out of this, which ‘is a script, not a language’ (Van de Mieroop Reference Van de Mieroop1999, 10: our emphases).
    3. The value of <Y>, the position of which varies in the sequences, may be the precursor of place value, in which, for example, 5, 50 and 500 represent different values according to their position, thought to have been a Sumerian invention (d'Errico et al. Reference d'Errico, Doyon and Colage2017).

      The idea of place value is thought to have been a Sumerian invention (d'Errico et al., 2017), but the example of <Y> in the work of B. Bacon, et al (2023) may push the date of the idea of place value back significantly.

  2. Mar 2022
    1. Who were the world’s first astronomers? The answer typicallyincludes scientists such as Galileo, Nicolaus Copernicus, or ancientcivilisations that gave birth to what we consider Western science,such as Sumer in Mesopotamia.

      Given the predominantly non-literate civilizations that comprised the ancient Near East, I've been wondering about how they may have actually been closer to Indigenous cultures than they are to more modern, literate Western culture.

      Perhaps he shouldn't dismiss them so readily here, but rather tie them more directly into his broader thesis.

  3. Sep 2021
    1. Ancient peoples frequently engaged in offloading their mental contents and augmenting their brainpower with external resources, as evidenced by objects they left behind. Sumerians employed clay tokens to keep track of livestock and other goods when trading; Incas tied knots in long cords, called quipus, to memorialize events; administrators and merchants across a broad swath of the ancient world used abacuses and counting boards.

      Interesting to see these examples of mnemonic devices referenced here.

      One could certainly add standing stones, stone circles, etc. to the list.