Definition:Ancient Tally Bones
The ancient tally bones are archaeological relics purporting to demonstrate the earliest known indications of recorded numbers.
The Lebombo bone is a baboon's leg bone bearing $29$ notches which were carved into it between $33 \ 000$ B.C.E. and $42 \ 000$ B.C.E.
It is the earliest known instance of a system of tally marks.
Various untestable hypotheses have been raised concerning this artefact, notably that it was created by an early African woman to count the days between her menses. However, as the bone appears to be broken at one end, it is possible that the count of $29$ is not the complete set of notches that were originally carved.
The (Czechoslovakian) wolf bone is a wolf bone dating from approximately $30 \ 000$ years ago, bearing $57$ marks which appear to have been made deliberately.
The markings are believed to be tally marks, and are arranged in $11$ groups of $5$, with $2$ left over.
The untestable hypothesis has been made that the number corresponds to a double lunar period.
The Ishango bone is a mathematical tool made from a leg bone of a baboon, dating from approximately $25 \ 000$ years ago.
It bears a system of markings which may be tally marks, but may in fact be for a more complex purpose.
One row of marks contains the prime numbers between $10$ and $20$, that is, $11$, $13$, $17$ and $19$, which total $60$.
Another row contains $9$, $11$, $19$ and $21$, which also total $60$.
The third row contains marks which appear to represent a method of multiplication by means of a technique involving doubling and halving.
While it is suggested that the markings form a calendar, it is also possible that the markings are coincidental, and perhaps even just put there to make the bone easier to hold.