Numeracy and Metrology

Grégory Chambon

in The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199557301
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Numeracy and Metrology


This article explores some interactions between numeracy, metrology, material culture, and scribal activity within the social and cultural context of Mesopotamia. It analyzes the metrology in the city of Ebla in the third millennium bc in order to out the local complexity of the relationship between practical uses of metrology and written metrological systems. It highlights the complexity of the relationship between material culture, which guides the development of metrological systems that respond to specific needs, and scribal practices capable of borrowing conventional notations from other regions while adapting them to local systems of measurement.

Keywords: numeracy; metrology; material culture; scribal activity; Mesopotamia; Elba; scribal practices

Article.  6844 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Historical Archaeology

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