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Tue Sep 8, 2020, 11:03 AM

The mathematical values of Linear A fraction signs

From phys.org:




A recent study by a team based at the University of Bologna, published in the Journal of Archeological Science, has shed new light on the Minoan system of fractions, one of the outstanding enigmas tied to the ancient writing of numbers.

About 3,500 years ago, the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete developed a writing system composed of syllabic signs, called Linear A, which they sometimes used to inscribe offerings at sanctuaries and adorn their jewelry, but mainly assisted the administration of their palatial centers. Today, this script remains largely undeciphered and includes a complex system of numerical notation with signs that indicated not only whole numbers, but also fractions (such as 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc.). While the whole numbers were deciphered decades ago, scholars have been debating on the exact mathematical values of the fractional signs.

Principal Investigator Silvia Ferrara, Professor of the Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies of the University of Bologna, said: "We aimed to solve the problem through a lens combining different strands of research, very seldom tied together: close paleographical analysis of the signs and computational methods. In this way we realized that we could access information from a new perspective."

The members of the European Research Council project INSCRIBE (Invention of Scripts and their Beginnings), Michele Corazza, Barbara Montecchi, Miguel Valério, and Fabio Tamburini, led by Dr. Ferrara, applied a method that combines the analysis of the sign shapes and their use in the inscriptions together with statistical, computational and typological strategies to assign mathematical values to the Linear A signs for fractions.

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Reply The mathematical values of Linear A fraction signs (Original post)
Jim__ Sep 8 OP
PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 8 #1
Jim__ Sep 8 #2
PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 8 #3

Response to Jim__ (Original post)

Tue Sep 8, 2020, 11:11 AM

1. And at least they were humans, speaking and writing in a human language.

They need to hire the linguist expert in the movie Arrival. She translated a totally alien language in a matter of weeks. I'm being a bit sarcastic. The rather rapid understanding and translation of the alien language was sufficiently unbelievable to me that I just am not as enamored of that movie as most people are.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 8, 2020, 02:58 PM

2. I didn't see that movie.

But they say it's based on Story of Your Life. I'll have to read that.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 8, 2020, 04:51 PM

3. Do read it.

I found it odd, and I'm a person who reads and occasionally writes science fiction.

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