An Ur III Table of Reciprocals without Place Value Numbers
Book chapter, 2016

In Fig. 13.1.1 below is shown a hand copy and conform transliteration of SM 2685, a clay tablet from the Suleimaniyah Museum in the Kurdistan region in northeastern Iraq. The clay tablets in the Suleimaniyah Museum are acquired in the antiquities market and are therefore unprovenanced, but in most cases probably from Old Babylonian Larsa. However, the writing on SM 2685 is such that the text can be either from the Neo-Sumerian Ur III period or Early Old Babylonian, and, as will be shown below, the atypical table of reciprocals inscribed on the tablet is clearly older than all earlier known Ur III tables of reciprocals.

Basic Fraction

Extra Line

Division Problem

Multiplication Table

Regular Number


Jöran Friberg

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences

Farouk N.H. Al-Rawi

SOAS University of London

New Mathematical Cuneiform Texts


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Cultural Studies

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History



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