The Oldest Puzzle in History: Archimedes Box

Archimedes, who was accepted as the first and greatest scientist of the ancient world by laying the foundation of hydrostatics and mechanics; He is a philosopher, mathematician, physicist, engineer and astronomer who contributed to the world of science in many fields.

Known for his studies and discoveries on mathematics and geometry as well as in other fields, this scientist, besides the Pi number, world’s oldest math puzzle He had designed a puzzle with the title

It is quite eye-catching with the shapes it contains and people are very confused about how to solve can you solve this puzzle?

This puzzle of Greek origin, also known as “stomachion” meaning stomach, was actually discovered by accident.

Archimedes Palimpsest (Archimedes’ Scroll) found in manuscript This tangram is the oldest known math puzzle. The reason for this accidental discovery is that the manuscript, which is said to have been written by Archimedes, was found in the 13th century. inclusion in a prayer book and redesign.

In order for Palimpsest, which means a manuscript prepared for reuse by scraping or erasing, the pages of the book had to be removed and the writings cleaned to be ready for use.

don't write

Subsequently, the pages of the new book were created by dividing them into two in the middle and laying them on its side. It’s also the world’s oldest math puzzle, On the last page of the Archimedes Scroll is located.

The German researcher Constantine Tischendorf suspected that the subtext of Palimpsest, used as a prayer book in the monastery, was a single work, and tore off a page from it to have it examined by various experts.

There were problems such as scraping, erasing and cutting in the texts. Fortunately, digital photography and infrared ray technology had developed somewhat during the period, and this prayer book readable at an understandable level.

This math puzzle, also known as the “Archimedes box”, is actually a 14-piece jigsaw puzzle.

The purpose of the Stomachion placed inside a square is, how many different ways 14 puzzle pieces can be put together to make a square determine.

Although it is not known exactly how the game should be played, it is estimated how many different squares can be formed by using all the pieces in the tangram, based on the sentences of Archimedes in other sources.


Researchers worked hard to solve the puzzle, and in 2003 these efforts paid off in a way. Total with reflections and rotations to solve this puzzle 17,152 possible solutions was detected.

No one knows whether Archimedes had considered the variety of possible answers.


But one thing is known for certain, which is to solve this puzzle. many different ways that it is.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to see the original version of this puzzle with the naked eye today.


To make the Archimedean box understandable ultraviolet light and various computer imaging techniques need to use.


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