My respected colleague Dr. Henry just returned from an expedition in the Sahara.

He was hoping to find evidence of a sophisticated ancient civilization, but had little success. However, his team did discover several small artifacts, all in the same area:

Ancient artifacts

I wonder if these artifacts served any purpose. And if so, what?


Hint 1:

If the Saharan civilization was as sophisticated as Dr. Henry believes, they must have developed very advanced mathematics.

Hint 2:

There are exactly two different symbols. What can this mean?


2 Answers 2



Pi in binary. http://www.befria.nu/elias/pi/binpi.html The two dots in the center represent the integer part, the marks at the circumference represent the fractional part.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Remember to add the significance (just in case) - pi is related to the circle as it is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter. $\endgroup$
    – somebody
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 11:01

After spending many hours in a haze of glue fumes...

Clearly it's a frisbee!
The assembled artifact

  • 12
    $\begingroup$ @Gamow How do you intend to read a sundial while it's spinning through the air towards you? :D $\endgroup$
    – Samthere
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Samthere Poor Dr. Henry... he really was hoping to find something extraordinary. I guess a Frisbee is something too $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ @KateGregory I used something other than Word to put it together better now that I'm home. The two wedge pieces are actually quite different in size; I don't think there's a different way to rearrange it. $\endgroup$
    – Samthere
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ It's an early basketball design, made on a clay plate, but someone misunderstood the difference between blueprint and finished product and dunked it. The elders then decided they needed to focus on education, so basketball had to wait another 4500 years to be re-invented. $\endgroup$
    – jhabbott
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 19:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Raystafarian the assembled image is correct, but the symbols have not yet been deciphered. I might need to post a hint. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 9:32

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