The first Ishango bone


Discovered in 1950, the Ishango bone is the stick with notches that has been most talked about. It is a true star of African archaeology!

What is it?

First of all, it is a cutting tool, it is composed of a small piece of quartz and a fossilized bone handle perfectly preserved. In this respect alone, the object is exceptional because complete prehistoric composite tools are extremely rare.


In addition, the neck has 168 incisions, regularly spaced and arranged in groups of three columns. The arrangement of these cuts made Jean de Heinzelin think there may be a mathematical link. However, it is still not clear what they represent because the arrangements of the marks are so unique.

Click the button "3D" to observe the stick from all angles.