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around 1900–1600 BCE

Babylonian Geometrical Problem Tablet

Clay tablet with geometrical problems accompanied by diagrams

Tablet BM 15285, held by the British Museum, has been instrumental in the understanding of Old Babylonian line geometry. It consists of 40 problems with diagrams but no solutions. A third of the tablet is missing.

Babylonian Geometrical Problem Tablet

This tablet, dated to around 1900–1600 BCE, contains problems involving figures drawn inside squares. The problems are ordered by increasing complexity. The first 12 problems concern squares, circles and right triangles; many of the remainder consider more complicated figures.

Artifact dimensions

26.2 cm × 30.8 cm

Original artifact location

Babylonia (historical name), Iraq (current name)

Current artifact location

British Museum, London

Catalog number

BM 15285

Timeline

Geometry timeline Babylonian Nested Triangle Tablet Babylonian Geometrical Problem Tablet Babylonian Sippar Recombination Text Moscow Mathematical Papyrus Euclid's Elements Euclid Diagram Papyrus Moche Net Balance Scale Al-Tusi's Commentary on the Elements

Interactive Content

Computational Explanation