Ishango Bone and Lebombo Bone

Numbers have been used since such a long time regarding that calculation of the field yard in Mesopotamia or solar calendar in Ancient Egypt. These computations are basically for facilitate human life and understand the natural events. However these aren’t the most ancient proofs which show that people used numbers for such a long time. Recent researches indicated that the Ishango Bone and the Lebombo Bone are even older and the very first tools for calculating. But the question we discussed with my group members in class is mainly about the reasons why these bones are used.

The first reason why the Ishango Bone may have been used is that it helps to understand some basic mathematical calculations. Calculating is one of the most ancient ways that people use to facilitate their lives.  As we all know, in African culture they don’t have personal belongings but they have a system based on sharing. Ishango Bone has a principle constructed on division and multiplication.   These calculations may have been useful to devise equally any kind of substances (food, hunting tools etc.) they had. That’s the reason why with my group we found this thesis possible.

Another reason why the Ishango Bone and the Lebombo Bone could be used is that to count and track the days. We have always needed to understand natural events due to their effect on human life, so, with calculating monthly cycle woman may have also understood about their menstrual cycles. As a result, by tracking the calendar that they created, African woman could successfully understand their natural functions of their bodies. It’s a fact that African communities are matriarchal because they believe that the life comes from a woman’s body. This consideration shows that the fertility of a woman is very important in such African populations so that me and my group strongly believe that this is the main reason why these bones were used.

In conclusion, there are two aspects about function of the Ishango and the Lebombo bones. In the class discussion with my group we have found the second one more efficient. Other than the reason why the bones were uses, we have also discussed about the items which we use today will misunderstood as well. We think that kitchen appliances will be the most difficult tools to predict the function. Who knows; in 20.000 years maybe all of our ‘‘indispensable’’ tools will be all forgotten, but surely the numbers will still be used.


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