An ancient relation between units of length and volume based on a sphere

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Abstract

The modern metric system defines units of volume based on the cube. We propose that the ancient Egyptian system of measuring capacity employed a similar concept, but used the sphere instead. When considered in ancient Egyptian units, the volume of a sphere, whose circumference is one royal cubit, equals half a hekat. Using the measurements of large sets of ancient containers as a database, the article demonstrates that this formula was characteristic of Egyptian and Egyptian-related pottery vessels but not of the ceramics of Mesopotamia, which had a different system of measuring length and volume units. © 2012 Zapassky et al.

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Zapassky, E., Gadot, Y., Finkelstein, I., & Benenson, I. (2012). An ancient relation between units of length and volume based on a sphere. PLoS ONE, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033895

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