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The Akhmim Wooden Tablet INTRODUCTION

In the Babylonian base 60 system the division
of its smallest numbers, by prime numbers, used a round off system.
In base 60, the inverse of a prime number, 1/p, was written as
a multiple of 2, 3 and 5. For example, 1/91 was usually rounded
off

to 1/90, though scribes were generally free to select their own
round off rules, meaning that 1/92 could have been selected. Though
the Babylonians surely knew of arithmetic fixes to repair the
very old 2, 3, and 5 denominator limitation. They, aparently,
never replaced the convention, and therefore never culturally
allowed any number, n, one of the fixes, to generally appear in
denominators.

In the nearby Egyptian case, prior to 2,000
BC, the same type of cursive round off error is suggested by its
binary fraction Horus-Eye system. 1/64, was rounded off, leaving
an awkward system, when contrasted to Babylon's relative accurate
system. However, *the Egyptians developed a formal correction
of its awkward Horus-Eye errors*. The method was recorded in
a wooden tablet called the **Akhmim Wooden Tablet** (AWT) also
known as the Cairo wooden tablet.

AWT dates aproximately to 2000 BC. More accurately, sometime from
the 12th dynasty to the 15th dynasty in the Egyptian Middle Kingdom.
It is 46.5 x 26n cm and is housed in the Cairo Museum. Its contents
include 27 servant names, and an unknown king's name (citing the
8th year of his reign), and for our interest, **five division
calculations**, two of which were repeated several times. The
document was reported in 1901, analyzed and published in 1906,
by Georges Daressy who left out some divisions. In 2002, this
was clarified by Hana Vymazalova in her re-translation.

The AWT explains the Egyptian shorthand division remainder system. In addition it touches on Egyptian arithmetic operations, especially division.

**Acknowledgements:**

We wish to thank Milo Gardner, Jr. of Sacramento
for enlightening us about The Akhmim Wooden Tablet. The primary
initial source of this material comes from letters to the author
from Milo Gardner or **http://akhmimwoodentablet.blogspot.com**.

The Reader may also wish to see **Gardner's
contribution on the AWT** to the Math World site, and Gardner's
very informative **Math
Forum contribution**.

**references:**

**AWT blog****;
Math
Forum; 46 Lessons
in Early Geometry;**

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