A new interpretation of an ancient tablet may show that the Babylonians had mastered trigonometry, pushing back the foundation of that subject more than a millennium.
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An ancient tablet may have just given researchers new insight into the minds of the ancient Babylonians, long known to be expert civil engineers. The clay text may demonstrate that this civilization built its monuments and canals with a higher degree of mathematical understanding than historians had thought. Discovered sometime about a century ago, scholars of ancient mathematics have been studying it for decades. New findings by Daniel Mansfield and Norman Wildberger of the University of New South Wales, Sydney reveal that the text may have been a complete table of trigonometry. If that’s true, it would be by far the oldest ever discovered. Until now, a Greek trig table from about 120 B.C. was considered the first. Plimpton 322 predates that by more than a thousand years.
READ: Ancient Tablet May Show Earliest Use of This Advanced Math
Solving an Ancient Tablet’s Mathematical Mystery | National Geographic