Jeremy Baker

Jeremy Baker

Old Babylonian Survey tablet (Si.427)

An Australian mathematician, Dr Daniel Mansfield, has recently completed an analysis of an Old Babylonian (1900-1600 BC) Survey tablet (known as Si.427) from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Sippar. His analysis demonstrates the tablet includes a highly detailed survey plan, measured and drawn using Pythagorian trigonometry over a thousand years before Pythagoras. The tablet records land owned by Sîn-bêl-apli of Sippar, a “water-meadow”, and new land purchased. It is a remarkable insight into the complexity of life 3,700 years ago.


In the video linked below, Dr Mansfield explains the content of the tablet:  YouTube Video

A write-up of the analysis in the Conversation: How ancient Babylonian land surveyors developed a unique form of trigonometry 1000 years before the Greeks

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative: Item P128359 (aka Si.427)

Picture of the Survey Tablet (Si.427)

A picture of the obverse side of Si.427. Photograph by and courtesy of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

Si.427 Obverse (Istanbul Archeology Museum)