Bones with notches

Amongst the countless animal bones collected at Ishango, there were some with notches.

Whether they are in bone, ivory or antler, such notched sticks are not rare in prehistory. They have been found from at least 35 000 years ago in various parts of the world.

Do these notches have a meaning?

Notches are often considered as count marks, with a line being equivalent to something. The marks however do not imply the invention of counting.

How many sticks with notches were found in Ishango?

In fact, it is not very clear: there are two bones marked very clearly with notches and these could have been used for counting. Then there are a number of other objects with notches, such as harpoons, which could have been for something else.