The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Life Story: ParenthoodMonday, 26th September 2016 23:00 - BBC FourSome parents are more closely involved than others. Read more: Life Story: Parenthood
Life Story: CourtshipAvailable until Sunday, 23rd October 2016 01:25Without Tinder to rely on, how do animals find the right mate? Read more: Life Story: Courtship
BBC Inside Science - 2016/2017 series: What's left to explore?Available for over a year
Scotland and The Battle for Britain: Episode 2Available until Friday, 21st October 2016 01:35
Life Story: PowerAvailable until Sunday, 16th October 2016 01:35
The BBC And The OU: Inspiring LearningTake a look back at some of the programmes, apps and online learning the BBC and Open University... Watch now: The BBC And The OU: Inspiring Learning
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
The lottery of birthThis free course, The lottery of birth, will look at both the big picture of the ‘lottery of... Try: The lottery of birth now
Start writing fictionHave you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course,... Try: Start writing fiction now
This free course looks at Babylonian mathematics. You will learn how a series of discoveries has enabled historians to decipher stone tablets and study the various techniques the Babylonians used for problem-solving and teaching. The Babylonian problem-solving skills have been described as remarkable and scribes of the time received a training far in advance of anything available in medieval Christian Europe 3000 years later.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge about cuneiform and how it was used to represent numbers for mathematical problem solving and computation;
- understand the relationship between a decimal place-value system and a sexagesimal one;
- appreciate the advanced understanding of mathematics in Ancient Mesopotamia in relation to anyone in medieval Christian Europe 3000 years later.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Babylonian mathematics
- 1.2 A Babylonian mathematical problem
- 1.3 The historical study of cuneiform
- 1.4 A remarkable numeration system
- 1.5 Plimpton 332
- 1.6 The social context of Babylonian mathematical activity
- 1.7 Babylonian mathematical style
- Keep on learning
- Further reading
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
This course looks at Babylonian mathematics. You will learn how a series of discoveries have enabled historians to decipher stone tablets and study the various techniques the Babylonians used for problem-solving and teaching. The Babylonian problem-solving skills have been described as remarkable and scribes of the time received a training far in advance of anything available in medieval Christian Europe 3000 years later.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Mathematics courses or view the range of currently available OU Mathematics courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 8th July 2011
Last updated on: Tuesday, 15th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (2.5 MB)
- PDF (5.2 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (2 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (2 MB)
- Kindle (517 KB)
- RSS (165 KB)
- HTML (986 KB)
- SCORM (985 KB)
- OUXML Package (24 KB)
- OUXML File (72 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.