# Ancient counting systems

I found this description on a Straight Dope site, but there appears to be something wrong with the phrasing. “And the outside surfaces of each hand, two per hand. That gives six counting points per hand “（see full quotation below”) The four spaces between the fingers I understand. Where are the other sites on the surface of the hand that make up 6 counting points per hand?
“The ancients counted on the spaces between the fingers. four spaces per hand, eight total. And the outside surfaces of each hand, two per hand. That gives six counting points per hand and twelve total. For them base twelve is equally natural.”

davidmich

Each hand has a palm and a back of the hand. Seems weird to me but so does wearing a bedsheet wrapped around my torso so what do I know.

I suspect it’s not the palm and back of the hand but rather the following. If your left hand is palm down count outside (to the left of the pinky) as 1. Count the spaces between the fingers as 2 through 5. Count the space outside (to the right of) the thumb as 6.

That still seems weird. They didn’t get the concept of nothing as a value but could conceptualize it as a unit for counting? How odd.

Reported, because the OP seems identical to this one.