Wednesday, April 04 2018
By: MyCaribbeanRadio

The values of ancient Egyptian numerals

The values of ancient Egyptian numerals

Ancient Egyptians settled along the fertile Nile valley as early as about 6000 BCE, and they began to record the patterns of lunar phases and the seasons, both for agricultural and religious reasons. The Pharaoh’s surveyors used measurements based on body parts to measure land and buildings very early in Egyptian history, and a decimal numeric system was developed based on our ten fingers. The oldest mathematical text from ancient Egypt discovered so far, though, is the Moscow Papyrus, which dates from the Egyptian Middle Kingdom around 2000 - 1800 BCE.


Historians and archeologists believe that the Egyptians introduced the earliest fully developed base 10 numeration system as early as 2700 BCE. Written numbers used a stroke for units, a heel bone symbol for tens, a coil of rope for hundreds and a lotus plant for thousands, as well as other hieroglyphic symbols for higher powers of ten up to a million. However, there was no concept of place value, so larger numbers were rather unwieldy: ie; a million is one character but a million minus one requires 54 characters.

See more about the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus at the BBC


This puzzle is uses a deduction pattern to determine each row's result


The answer is 195

First step is to define the difference between the first and second rows. Then determine the pattern between the 2nd and 3rd rows. Each difference value is multiplied by 2 and deducted from the current value.

  • First row = 300
  • Second row = 285 (300 - 15)
  • Third row = 255 (285 - 30)
  • Fourth row = 195 (255 - 60)
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