Ancient Egyptian Mathematics

Ancient Egyptian mathematics refers to the mathematical techniques. Theories used in ancient Egypt from the Predynastic period until the end of the Ptolemaic period. The earliest known mathematical texts date back to the Old Kingdom period around 2700 BCE. Egyptian mathematics was primarily used for practical purposes such as calculating the areas of lands. Measuring the height of the Nile flood, and constructing pyramids and other buildings.

The Egyptians used a base 10 numbering system and had symbols for each power of 10 up to 1 million. One of the most notable achievements of Egyptian mathematics was the development of a system of hieroglyphic fractions. Which allowed them to express any fraction as a sum of unit fractions (fractions with a numerator of 1). For example.,they represented 3/4 as 1/2 + 1/4.

The Egyptians also had a good understanding of geometry and used it extensively in their architecture and surveying. They knew how to calculate the area and volume of various shapes and had formulas for finding the lengths of diagonals and the circumference of a circle.

One of the most famous mathematical texts from ancient Egypt is the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. Which dates back to around 1650 BCE and contains over 80 mathematical problems and solutions. This papyrus includes problems dealing with fractions, geometry, and algebra. Egyptian mathematics also influenced the development of other fields such as astronomy. The ancient Egyptians tracked the movement of stars and planets and developed a calendar based on the cycles of the sun and the Nile flood. They were also able to calculate the length of the year to within 6 minutes of the actual value.


Egyptian mathematics was highly practical and focused on solving real-world problems. While they did not make significant theoretical advancements, their work laid the foundation for later Greek and Arab mathematicians.