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Tablets discovered in Ancient Babylon, found in modern day Iraq and thought to have been written between 350 and 50 BC, depict two intervals from when Jupiter first appears along the horizon, calculating the planet’s position at 60 and 120 days.
Dr. Mathieu Ossendrijver, a professor of ancient science from Berlin, says the texts contain geometrical calculations based on a trapezoid’s area and its “long” and “short” sides.
The Guardian reports that ‘the ancient astronomers also computed the time when Jupiter covers half of the 60-day distance by partitioning the trapezoid into two smaller ones of equal area’.
A fragment of one of the ancient tablets showing the geometric patterns. Ossendrijver believes European scholars in Oxford and Paris previously credited with developing such calculation in the 14th century were far behind their Babylonian colleagues:
“These computations predate the use of similar techniques by medieval European scholars by at least 14 centuries.”
This impressive feat accomplished by Babylonian astronomers could just be the very tip of the iceberg.
Some believe that an entire human civilization, from around 10,500BC, has been completely lost to history. Moreover, scientists have recently uncovered evidence that could suggest there was once ancient life on Mars.
What else might these ancient civilizations have known about?