Computer History Timeline, Prehistoric period

Archeological evidences have demonstrated that the computer history timeline may have started in the prehistoric period. The first evidence of computing dates back around 35000 BC with the discovery of the Lebombo bones. Then around 2400 BC the abacus was discovered.

Would you believe that? The timeline for computing may have actually started in the “Paleolithic period” in other words “The Stone Age”. Since then many new inventions, new discoveries have been made which brings us to our modern world of science and high technology.

Prehistoric Period

The Lebombo Bone

The first ever computing devises used are believed to be found around 35,000 BC.
Archaeologists while excavating within the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains of Swaziland, discovered and important artifact. It was a small piece of the fibula bone, known as the Lebombo bone, you can guess where the name of the bone came from. It was named after the Lebombo Mountains.

This piece of fibula bone consisted of 29 distinct notches that were deliberately carved into a baboon’s fibula bone. The Lebombo bone is the oldest known mathematical artifact ever discovered.

There are no clear indications that they were used for computing at that period. It could be assumed that they may have been used in some sort of counting or to keep track of calendar. There are clear indications as the Lebombo bone resembles to the calendar sticks still used by Bushmen in Namibia.

The Ishango Bone

At a later stage, archaeological finding of the Ishango bone from around 18,000 BC may possibly indicate these bones were used for simple calculations. This artifact was also discovered in Africa, a small African fishing village called Ishango, on the border of Zaire and Uganda.

Then could we assume that mathematics actually originated from Africa although the historical belief is that it started in Ancient Egypt and Babylonia.

The carvings on the bone predict that they were used as counting devices but some historians argue that it may have been used as some sort of calendar.

2400 BC – The Abacus

This date is assumed by many historians as the start of the Computer History Timeline.

Imagine doing calculations today without a computing device such as a calculator or computer. We are dependent on these devises. We use spreadsheets for highly sophisticated calculations and data management.

But there was a time when these devices did not exist. So what did they do? The earliest counting device was the hands and the fingers. The calculations started getting bigger so some sort of counting devices were needed or should I say a calculator.

Let us go back to our childhood memories. Can you recall how you started counting? I bet you used your fingers. Gradually, as you grew up you have come across calculating devises. Most of you may have had the opportunity to test the Abacus.


So could we not agree to the fact that the computer history timeline actually started during this period and the first primitive computer used was an Ishango bone. Not really sophisticated is it!! Lots of Laugh..

The Abacus – the first ever known calculator was probably invented by the Babylonians as an aid to simple arithmetic computing. Babylonians may have used the abacus for the operations of additions and subtractions.

The first abacus was most certainly based on a flat stone covered with sand or dust. Lines were drawn in the sand and pebbles used to aid calculations. It actually did no calculations as a calculator but helped the person, who was calculating in his head, to keep track of his counts or sums.