• Jan Gyllenbok
Part of the Science Networks. Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 56)


Units of measurement have been essential in every civilisation throughout history. Since the dawn of mankind, man has, through necessity, devised various rudimentary measures to assist him in everyday life. We assume that homo sapiens during the Palaeolithic period (c. 2,500,000–c. 9000 BC) was also capable of experiencing seasons, near and far, heavy and light, big and small, etc. There have lately been found some ochre rocks in a cave in South Africa adorned with some geometric patterns dating back to c. 70,000 BC. The early weights were simple stones, an empty shell was used for measuring capacity, and parts of the body, like fingers and arms, were adequate for most needs in length measurement. Time was probably measured by periods of the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies.

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Gyllenbok
    • 1
  1. 1.LommaSweden

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