Trigonometry 1000 Years Before Pythagoras: Mathematician Uncovers Mesopotamian Secrets

Trigonometry 1000 Years Before Pythagoras: Mathematician Uncovers Mesopotamian Secrets

Andrew H. Sweet

It shows trigonometry did not begin with the Greeks studying the sky but with the Babylonians surveying the ground.

The tablet, known as Si.427, dates from the Old Babylonian period – 1900 to 1600 BCE – and Dr. Mansfield discovered the land surveyor used a type of trigonometry now known as "Pythagorean triples" to make accurate right angles.

In 2017, Dr. Mansfield speculated that another artifact from the same period, Plimpton 322, was a unique kind of trigonometric table.

But he could only guess the purpose of the Plimpton 322, hypothesizing that it had a practical use, possibly used to construct palaces and temples, build canals, or survey fields.

Read the original story here.

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