Scholars who work with the sexagesimal place value (base 60) notation for numbers that was used in ancient Mesopotamia have evolved a convention for translating such numbers into hindu-arabic numerals and decimal notation.

The first rule is that the boundary between integers and fractions is marked by a semicolon. Thus 3;30 means 3½ (30/60 = ½).

Each sexagesimal place can have any value between 1 and 59. To preserve the sexagesimal values when they are written in hindu-arabic numerals, the places are separated by spaces. So for example 1 23;15 would be 83¼ (1 times 60, + 23 = 83. 15/60 = ¼). 4 17 13;12 represents 15,433 1/5 (4 times 60 times 60, + 17 times 60, + 13. 12/60 = 1/5)

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Last revised: 16 August 2008.