Number Theory


The Secret of Ishango – On the Helix Structure of Prime Numbers

Authors: Christof Born

The bones of Ishango were found in the 1950s by Belgian archaeologist Jean de Heinzelin near a Palaeolithic residence in Ishango, Africa. Inscriptions, which can be interpreted as numbers, make these bones the oldest mathematical find in human history. There are various scientific papers on the interpretation of the inscriptions. Interestingly, on one of the two bones, we also find the six consecutive prime numbers 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 and 19. Did Stone Age people already know the secret of the prime numbers? This question is explored in my mathematical essay “The Secret of Ishango”: an adventurous journey around the world – from Basel in Switzerland to Erode in India. The presumed connection between the numbers on the bones of Ishango and the structure of the prime numbers is illustrated by a sketch at the end of the text.

Comments: 11 Pages.

Download: PDF

Submission history

[v1] 2019-09-24 08:26:16

Unique-IP document downloads: 27 times is a pre-print repository rather than a journal. Articles hosted may not yet have been verified by peer-review and should be treated as preliminary. In particular, anything that appears to include financial or legal advice or proposed medical treatments should be treated with due caution. will not be responsible for any consequences of actions that result from any form of use of any documents on this website.

Add your own feedback and questions here:
You are equally welcome to be positive or negative about any paper but please be polite. If you are being critical you must mention at least one specific error, otherwise your comment will be deleted as unhelpful.

comments powered by Disqus