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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Fact of the Week - The Rhind Papyrus - 7/24/14

The Rhind Papyrus

The Rhind Papyrus (pictured below) is an important document from ancient Egypt that contains a bountiful amount of information on ancient Egyptian mathematics. It is dated to be from the year 1650 B.C. The scroll is named after Alexander Rhind, a Scottish lawyer and Egyptologist. Alexander Rhind came across the famous scroll in 1858 when visiting a market in Luxor, Egypt. The scroll was originally discovered in a tomb in Thebes, on the bank of the Nile river. 

Rhind Papyrus, picture credit: Paul James Cowie

The scroll was copied by the scribe, Ahmes, around 1650 B.C. and contains the earliest known symbols for mathematical operations. Other content of the Rhind Papyrus includes problems involving fractions, arithmetic progressions, algebra and geometry (particularly areas and volumes). 

Ahmes wrote that the scroll gives an "accurate reckoning for inquiring into things, and the knowledge of all things, mysteries...all secrets."

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