This volume on ethnomathematics in Central Africa fills a gap in the current literature, focusing on a region rarely explored by other publications. It highlights the discovery of the Ishango rod, which was found to be the oldest mathematical tool in humanity's history, thereby shifting the origin of mathematics to the heart of Africa, and explores the different scientific hypotheses that emerged as a result. While it contains some high-level mathematics, the non-mathematical reader can easily skip these portions and enjoy the book's survey of African history, culture, and art.
Foreword.- Introduction.- Part I: Mathematics in the Heart of Africa.- 1. Rationale and Sources.- 2. Storytelling and Music.- 3. Creative Counting.- 4. Drawings.- 5. Reasoning Without Writing.- 6. Multiplication in the Yoruba and "Ethiopian" Way.- Part II: The Ishango Rod(s).- 7. The Ishango Site.- 8. Mathematical Carvings.- 9. Missing Link.- 10. Not Out of Africa.- 11. A Second Rod.- Part III: Epilogue.- 12. Museum Visit, Teaching, Research.- References.