Image: UNSW

At Australia’s University of New South Wales, a team of academics pore over a slab of ancient clay. Slowly, they come to a stunning realization about the rows and columns etched across the tablet’s surface. Indeed, it’s a revelation that will change everything we think we know about mathematics.

Image: The Photodramatist via Wikimedia Commons

The story begins back in the early 1900s, when American archaeologist Edgar Banks was exploring an area that today is part of southern Iraq. As a lover of antiquities, Banks spent much of his career buying up ancient artifacts during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire.

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