Mesopotamian Innovations

By Jason Lindsey


Astronomy began with the first people (Mesopotamians) of agricultural environments. Mesopotamia was the breeding ground of civilization almost 10,000 years ago. It is in Sumeria that scientists find the very first of the study of astronomy. Babylon and Assyria were later places in the same geographic area, and inherited the Sumerians' astronomical traditions and many of their myths and legends surrounding the skies. They in turn developed their own astronomical culture and passed it on to the Greeks and eventually to our modern world.


The Mesopotamians used a number arrangement with the support (base) of 60 (like we use base 10 blocks). They divided time up by 60 second minute and a 60 minute hour, which we still use today. They had a wide knowledge of mathematics including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions. This was important in keeping track of chronicles. They may have even discovered the number for pi.