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The Oldest Known Mathematical Artifact (35,000 BCE)


Lembobo bone or tally stick. (Click on image to view larger.)

 

The Lebombo bone, the oldest known mathematical artifact, is a tally stick with 29 distinct notches that were deliberately cut into a baboon's fibula. It was discovered within the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains of Swaziland.

The Lebombo bone resembles the calendar sticks still used by Bushmen in Namibia.