A blurb for an upcoming book, Finding Zero, about the origins of the numeral ‘0’. It seems that the oldest inscriptional evidence thus far comes from a Khmer stele K127.
The Origin of the Number Zero
Smithsonian Magazine, December 2014
Found on a stone stele, it was documented in 1931 by a French scholar named George Coedès. Assigned the identifying label K-127, the inscription reads like a bill of sale and includes references to slaves, five pairs of oxen and sacks of white rice. Though some of the writing wasn’t deciphered, the inscription clearly bore the date 605 in an ancient calendar that began in the year A.D. 78. Its date was thus A.D. 683. Two centuries older than the one at Gwalior, it predated wide-ranging Arab trade. But K-127 disappeared during the Khmer Rouge’s rule of terror, when more than 10,000 artifacts were deliberately destroyed.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/origin-number-zero-180953392/#Ic9h9STffHB8Xiif.99
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Full story here.