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It is thought that a vertical alignment between these two stars checked with a plumb bob was used to ascertain where North lay.

The deviations from true North using this model reflect the accepted dates of construction of the pyramids.

Because their methods of calculation could not handle most fractions with a numerator greater than one, ancient Egyptian fractions had to be written as the sum of several fractions.

For example, the fraction two-fifths was resolved into the sum of one-third one-fifteenth; this was facilitated by standard tables of values.

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It was first thought to be a tally stick, as it has a series of tally marks carved in three columns running the length of the tool, but some scientists have suggested that the groupings of notches indicate a mathematical understanding that goes beyond counting.

Various functions for the bone have been proposed: it may have been a tool for multiplication, division, and simple mathematical calculation, a six-month lunar calendar, The importance of mathematics to an educated Egyptian is suggested by a New Kingdom fictional letter in which the writer proposes a scholarly competition between himself and another scribe regarding everyday calculation tasks such as accounting of land, labor and grain.

Texts such as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus and the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus show that the ancient Egyptians could perform the four basic mathematical operations—addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—use fractions, Mathematical notation was decimal, and based on hieroglyphic signs for each power of ten up to one million.

Each of these could be written as many times as necessary to add up to the desired number; so to write the number eighty or eight hundred, the symbol for ten or one hundred was written eight times respectively.