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Did the zero come from ancient Cambodia?

by Surya Narayan
2 comments

In 1931, a French scholar named George Coedès found it written on a stone stele and recorded it. It has been given the number K-127. The writing on K-127 looks like a bill of sale and mentions slaves, five sets of oxen, and sacks of white rice.

George Cœdès

Amir Aczel, a mathematician from the US, dedicated his life to discovering the first zero. Rumors prevailed for many years that the Indian Gwalior zero was not the first zero placeholder; that a predecessor existed in Cambodia. Lacking additional information, the status of the “first” zero remained a mystery. Amir Aczel discovered and documented the existence of this zero, a Khmer zero utilized in a stone inscription designating the Khmer year 605 (683 CE) throughout the course of a four-year research project . Amir Aczel wrote about the origin of the number Zero in 2014.

Amir Aczel

Amir Aczel had traveled to Cambodia in search of the evidence he had been after for five years: an ancient stone slab with what he believed to be the first numerical zero ever written. He discovered evidence indicating Cambodians were among the first people on the planet – before Europeans and Arabs – to use 0 to represent emptiness. Even the Romans had not created such a complicated system as the one depicted on the “K-127” stone.

His book, Finding Zero, recounts his search for evidence that the concept of zero was developed in Asia, and potentially Cambodia.

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2 comments

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Jean Ybarra March 19, 2023 - 4:23 pm

Hi thebettercambodia.com admin, Your posts are always well-supported by research and data.

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Gabrielle Martz March 28, 2023 - 8:26 am

Hello thebettercambodia.com administrator, You always provide clear explanations and definitions.

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