prime numbers and African artifact

Jeffrey Shallit (
Wed, 5 Jul 1995 11:32:37 GMT

On page 21 of Joel Shurkin's 1984 book, _Engines of the Mind:
A History of the Computer_ (W. W. Norton & Co.), he says:

"A piece of bone found in Africa and dated at around 8,500 B.C.
has engraved markings containing what appear to be representations of
the numbers 11, 13, 17, and 19, all of which are prime numbers ..."

Unfortunately, no further information is given. Does anyone out
there know anything more about this artifact?

Please respond by e-mail; I'll summarized if there is enough

Jeffrey Shallit, Computer Science, University of Waterloo,
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 Canada