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The Bakhshali manuscript is an ancient mathematical text written on birch bark that was found in 1881 in the village of Bakhshali, Mardan (near Peshawar in present-day Pakistan, historical Gandhara). It is perhaps "the oldest extant manuscript in Indian mathematics". For some portions a carbon-date was proposed of AD 224–383 while for other portions a carbon-date as late as AD 885–993 in a recent study, but the dating has been criticised by specialists on methodological grounds (Plofker et al. 2017 and Houben 2018 §3). The manuscript contains the earliest known Indian use of a zero symbol. It is written in a form of literary Sanskrit influenced by contemporary dialects.
|Bodleian Library, University of Oxford|
|Date||AD 224–383/ 885–993 (proposed carbon-dates, recently disputed on methodological grounds: Plofker et al. 2017, Houben 2018 §3)|
|Place of origin||Bakhshali, Pakistan|
|Language(s)||Sanskrit with influence from local dialects|
|Condition||Too fragile to be handled|