[vcf-midatlantic] oldest spreadsheet

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Wed Feb 6 22:29:52 EST 2019


Long link, but it amounts to the Cairo Museum's July 2016 display of 
papyrus found in 2013 which are associated with building the Great 
Pyramid, during the 4th Dynasty of King Khufu. Look hard, and you'll 
find an image of what's clearly a table of entries inscribed in 
rectangular blocks.

This came to my attention on a recent cable TV history show on the Great 
Pyramid, where the narrator/archeologist referred to these as a "Excel 
spreadsheet" of the supplies logistics at the port of entry for pyramid 
goods and supplies.

Hieroglyphics for numeric values are not overly complicated, so with 
patience one may be able to read off some of the notations. In the cited 
description, it even says "Revenue was written in red, while what was 
paid to workers would be written in black."

It's not quite a computer spreadsheet. But to see credit/debt paper 
ledgers from 45 centuries ago is informative, and exciting. And among 
the first business use of computers was for bookkeeping of this class. 
so it has some meaning to vintage computing.

I don't know if the Babylonians used clay tablets in this fashion.


Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
or try later herbjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT info

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