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Study on History of Mathematics in Harappan Civilization

Mr. Sankar Prasad Mukherjee, Mr. Partha Karmakar, Mr. Debashish Deb


Probably 5000 years back from now, the Harappan civilization was so advanced that their knowledge were not known to the later civilization of classical period nor even the early part of modern period in India. As Harappan script could not be deciphered as yet, so major part of their extent of methodologies, knowledge and richness of the same could not be perceived. However, only from the excavated remains viz, advanced well planned cities with abundantly equipped civil architectures; the accuracy of the weights and measures; the articrafts on utensils and walls; the agricultural equipments; the bullock cart with decorated wheels, various forms of tablets and potteries, geometrically designed motifs; use of metals copper , tin, lead, all  bronze alloy; and so on reflect high standard of the livelihood embodied with advanced knowledge of Physical sciences and esthetics. Without profound knowledge of different topics of Mathematics and its application; Physics; Chemistry; Civil-architectural, Agricultural, Metallurgical Engineering; Handicrafts and what not! were required for the above. The following two discoveries are indicative of the Mathematical prowess of Indus people.

  1. For weighing, weights of cubic stones of uniform shapes with different sizes and weights were in use. The standard was considered as 27.584 gms (28 gms app) and the remaining were found in proportion of ascendances 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500.
  2. Different shells, measuring seals of different substances even of ivory with precision and consistent graduation were in use, e.g., a Mohenjo-daro ruler as used having unit of length equal to 3.4 cms and such remnants are enough evidences of their Mathematical know how of high caliber.

This paper is an effort to give possible certification on the use Mathematics by Indus people which would make our History of Mathematics too ancient one.

Full Text:



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