Ancient Aztecs used special maths to measure taxable landApril 4th, 2008 - 1:55 pm ICT by admin
Washington, April 4 (ANI): Scientists have discovered that ancient Aztec mathematicians developed their own specialized arithmetic to measure tracts of taxable land.
According to a report by National Geographic News, by reading Aztec records from the city-state of Tepetlaoztoc, a pair of scientists has figured out the complicated equations and fractions that officials once used to determine the size of land on which tributes were paid.
The Aztec records include two ancient codices, written from A.D. 1540 to 1544, that have survived from Tepetlaoztoc.
They record each household and its number of members, the amount of land owned, and soil types such as stony, sandy, or yellow earth.
The ancient texts were extremely detailed and well organized, because landowners often had to pay tribute according to the value of their holdings, said co-author Maria del Carmen Jorge y Jorge from the National Autonomous University in Mexico City, Mexico.
According to Jorge y Jorge, the Aztecs recorded only the total area of each parcel and the length of the four sides of its perimeter.
Officials calculated the size of each parcel using a series of five algorithmsincluding one also employed by the ancient Sumerians, she said.
The Aztec arithmetic included fractional symbols like hearts, hands, and arrows that seem unusual to modern eyes. But to the Aztecs, they likely had a relation to the familiarthe human body.
Jorge y Jorge takes the example of the heart.
If you stretch out your left arm, that would be the measure from your heart to the tip of your finger. If you stretch both arms, the measure of the hand would be the distance between the tips of your two fingers, she explained.
Its just very natural. Your body you carry with you all the time and its very easy to refer whatever you want to measure to your body, she added.
The primary land unit was likely the distance from the ground to the tip of a finger on an adults upraised right armabout 8.2 feet (2.5 meters).
I think the study is neat because it shows that this sort of math and science was pretty practical in orientation, said Michael Smith, an archaeologist and Aztec expert at Arizona State University. (ANI)
- Cee Lo records a song for the firefighters - May 11, 2011
- Stress could tell harder on women's hearts - Apr 25, 2012
- Intimate exchange that led to 2 royal kisses at Palace's balcony revealed - May 01, 2011
- Stoner wins fifth straight Australian GP - and world title - Oct 17, 2011
- Green Day pens tribute song for Winehouse - Aug 18, 2011
- Nicole Kidman turns brunette - Jan 25, 2010
- M.I.A. dedicates song to late Amy Winehouse - Jul 26, 2011
- India is great but..., says Paris Hilton - Sep 27, 2011
- Could artefacts in remote Jordan cave reveal Jesus' last years? - Mar 21, 2011
- Germany returns stolen Sumerian treasures to Iraq - Jan 22, 2010
- Image found in Jordanian cave could be the first-ever portrait of Jesus - Apr 03, 2011
- 'Aaranya Kaandam' - a realistic account of gangsters (Tamil Movie Review) - Jun 11, 2011
- 'Want to live long: Stay away from noisy plane's path' - Oct 12, 2010
- Facial toning exercises can make you look younger & erase those wrinkles - Aug 25, 2010
- Meet the 'lifeloggers', who use technology to record life's every moment - Dec 20, 2010
Tags: ancient aztecs, ancient sumerians, ancient texts, arithmetic, arrows, co author, codices, human body, landowners, left arm, maria del carmen, mathematicians, mexico city, modern eyes, national autonomous university, national geographic news, perimeter, soil types, two fingers, yellow earth