The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Life Story: ParenthoodFriday, 30th September 2016 00:00 - BBC FourSome parents are more closely involved than others. Read more: Life Story: Parenthood
Scotland and The Battle for Britain: Episode 1Available until Friday, 28th October 2016 03:05Andrew Marr discovers why the Scotland he was born in has changed so much politically. Read more: Scotland and The Battle for Britain: Episode 1
Life Story: ParenthoodAvailable until Sunday, 30th October 2016 01:00
Life Story: CourtshipAvailable until Sunday, 23rd October 2016 01:25
BBC Inside Science - 2016/2017 series: What's left to explore?Available for over a year
Download your free 'Our Railways' posterDownload your free poster on British railways to accompany the Ou/BBC series 'Full Steam Ahead'. ... Read more: Download your free 'Our Railways' poster
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
Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital worldThis free course, Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world, will develop your confidence... Try: Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world now
English: skills for learningEnglish: skills for learning, is a free course for anybody who is thinking of studying for a... Try: English: skills for learning 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.