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# Mathematical Treasure: Khmer invent number Zero

# My quest to find the first 0

# Deep in the jungle, an intrepid scholar locates a symbol of power and mystery

### Accordingly George Cœdès discoveries, Number Zero was found in 1891 on a stone inscription in the ruined temple at Sambor on the Mekong River, today Kratie province. The inscription began: “The Çaka era entered year 605 on the fifth day of the waning moon.” It was this number, 605, that was so overwhelmingly important. Because we know that the Çaka dynasty began in AD 78, we can date the artifact exactly: to the year AD 683. This makes the “0” in “605” the oldest zero ever found of our base-10, “Hindu-Arabic” number system.Number Zero were used in Chaka era began in AD78, and the inscription was made AD683 which is shown that the Khmer people was the first inventor of number Zero and placing it a full two centuries earlier than the Indian Zero. It existing proved Zero was not invented in Europe or Arabia.

ខ្មែរ (Khmer)

១

២

៣

៤

៥

៦

៧

៨

៩

Value

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

# This inscription, written in Old Khmer, reads “The Caka era reached year 605 on the fifth day of the waning moon.” The dot (at right) is now recognized as the oldest known version of our zero. (Amir Aczel)

# The number 605 in Khmer numerals, from the Sambor inscription (Saka era 605 corresponds to AD 683). The earliest known material use of zero as a decimal figure.

# Khmer symbols above denote the year 605. Inscription K-127, from Sambor on Mekong

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