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The tools that different civilisations used were dependent on the way that they counted. It looks much more complicated than the metric system of length which uses base 10!
This sounds very strange - don't we all count in the same way? To find out more about writing numbers in different bases, look at " Back to the Planet of Vuv ".
I also have access to an archive of previous work printed at Abacus dating back to about 2005 should any former customers require reprints of their work.
In the middle of the 15th century the suan pan was introduced into Japan.
Here it was known as the soroban, as this is how the Chinese characters are pronounced in Japanese.
Archaeologists have discovered bones and rocks etched with some form of numerical symbols dating back to 20 000 BC.
However it has been very hard to find out exactly what they meant or how they were used.These columns corresponded to the order of size in their counting system (which was base 60) - just like we write sums with units, tens, hundreds columns etc.Little wooden or reed sticks, or clay pellets were used to place on the columns to make numbers.Between 90 BC, people in the Middle East were using stones, clay objects, rods and spheres to perform calculations.