Ancient Egyptian Numbers for Kids

Ancient Egyptian Numbers

By about 3000 BC, the ancient Egyptians had ways to write down numbers. They made one vertical line for one, two vertical lines for two, and so on up to nine. This is the same as earlier African number systems using tally sticks. For ten, the Egyptians made a U-shaped mark that represented the yoke of an ox, and for twenty you made two of the U-shaped marks. For 100, the Egyptians drew a coil of rope, and for 1000 they drew a lotus flower. They used a finger to show 10,000 and a tadpole to show 100,000, because when the Nile river flooded and the waters went down there would be millions of tadpoles everywhere.

So if you wanted to write, say, 103367, it would look like this:

Egyptian numbers

Learn by doing: writing hieroglyphs
Advanced Egyptian numbers from Quatr.us
Egyptian science

Bibliography and further reading about Egyptian science:

Science in Ancient Egypt, by Geraldine Woods (1998). For kids.

Technology in the Time of Ancient Egypt, by Judith Crosher (1998). Also for kids. Includes some activities for kids to try at home or at school.

African Mathematics
Mesopotamian numbers
More about Ancient Egypt
Kidipede - History for Kids home


by Professor K.E. Carr, Portland State University
Celebrating Women's History Month!
Kidipede logo
Instant day pass: no ads! $1.99
Thanks for subscribing to History for Kids!
Your support means everything to us.

Popular food articles: