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Year Zero: Ancient Indian Text Includes Oldest Recorded Zero Symbol

• arclein

As the Guardian reports, radiocarbon dating divulged the fragmentary text, which is engraved on seventy pieces of birch bark and contains hundreds of zeroes, dating back to as early as the third or fourth century. This makes it the world's oldest known origin of the zero symbol that we use in the modern world, as it is about five centuries older than experts previously thought. Marcus du Sautoy, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, tells Guardian, "Today we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and our whole digital world is based on nothing or something. But there was a moment when there wasn't this number."

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