To get an idea of the numerals found on inscription from 1 Cent BC – 4 Cent AD see Hela Numerals.

**FEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NUMERATION SYSTEMS OF THE SINHALESE**.

Published below is the abstract of the presentation made at the Royal Asiatic Society Annual Session of 2011- By Brig Siri Munasinghe [retd]

A logically organised collection of Numeral is called Numerations systems. The evidence of Sri Lankan having **symbols** and **names** for **numbers** for the last 2000 years is on rock inscriptions. . The numerals for TWO and THREE in the Sinhala numeration system is represented by 2 and 3 horizontal strokes on these inscriptions.

We can assume that initially numbers were denoted by such strokes as in the marking found bones on tools found at Ravanella by Dr PE Peiris and pot-shreds etc during other excavations. Larger numbers were represented by single symbol or a numeral. There is no evidence of how and when these system evolved in Sri Lanka.

The earliest dated was identified by Dr Arya Abeysinghe to indicate the Buddhist era in Numerals on the Perumaiyan-kulam Inscription.

**Development in the Sinhala system for expressing the Multiples of Thousands**

But there is evidence of an intermediate stages of the development of the symbol for 1000. An early method adopted by the engravers of King Illanaga[44-34 AD] who curved out the inscription at Situlpavu which is perhaps a legal Deed indicating the total land or crop in Kariha that belong to the Monastery at Situlpavu.The extent of each tract of land is shown in Numerals with the symbol for a Kiriha[ Measure of of land or Paddy- about2/ 4 acres]]. Two larges tracts of land of a thousand and sixty Kariha[ 2/4 Acres per Kariha] and one thousand One Hundred and fifty is named in the inscription. The number are indicated by Numerals only and not subtanciated in words. These have been identified and read by the former Commissioner of Archeology Dr.S. Paranavitane.

The grand total of the is shown at the end is 4470 karihas. The 4000 is shown by four symbols of 1000. As in the case of indicating the numeral 2 or 3 by two or three Horizontal Strokes .

This system of placing four **Thousand** numeral for 4000 was further developed by placing the Numeral for Four after the Numeral for Thousand in the next century in the Vilavila Inscription.

This later trend of writing Numerals continued and the symbol for 5000 in the Palu-Mekicchava Inscription was the Numerals for Thousand and Symbol for Five to the right of the Thousand Symbol. Examples of Numeral for Thousands on Inscriptions is shown below , The Indian numeral for 1000 is shown Bottom left.

**Two Different Methods of expressing multiples of Hundreds.**

There is an other example of the use of two methods adopted for expressing of numerals in writing, i.e two methods of writing the numeral for **Four** **Hundred. **In the 1 cent AD Situlpavu Inscriptions the Two Hundred Numeral was written by placing a short horizontal stroke to the left of the Hundred Numeral, similarly the numeral for Three hundred by two stoke been added to the right of numeral for 100.

The Total in the Situlpavu was 4470 , and the Four hundred numeral is expressed by adding three stroke to the right of the **Hundred** Numeral. But in next Century on the Dakkina Stupa the numeral for **FOUR is placed to the right of the numeral for Hundred.**

Examples of this practice of placing the numerals for 5,6.7 and 9 after the numeral for 100 is shown below.

**Method of expressing multiples of Tens after 50**.

The Numerals for 60,70 as on Situlpavu Inscription and on the Dakkina Stupa Inscription is shown below. The difference is that a Horizontal stroke is added to the left of numeral 60 and presto numeral 70.

Did the Sinhalese numeral for **80** follow the above practice and that of Hundreds in its development?. Was there a similar intermediate step for the **Thousands?. Perhaps new discoveries of inscription will verify these.**The numeral at Torava Mylava has two a horizontal line attached to the vertical line of the Numeral for 1000. Is this 2000?.

There are symbols, other than those that are now accepted by a few historians as Numerals on our Cave inscription between 300 BC to 100 AD. These may require careful scrutiny. I will thread in to an area where one should be careful in expressing view, but what the hell..

**Numerals like symbols**

A symbol looking like two fish[ No 43] is on Mullegama Inscription No1074[ IC Volume I]. The inscription shown below has the symbol no 41 , 42 and 43 in Inscriptions of Ceylon Volume I page xxvi in table of non Brahmi Symbols. The symbol 41 is very much like the Numeral four found on inscription[ Dr Abeya Ariyasinghe]. Th e symbol no 43 is similar two numerals of ten of the ancient Sinhalese. This symbol look similar to a Sinhala Ma of a later period, as different Ma exists in inscription. Was this method of placing two TEN LIKE SYMBOL to indicate the Numeral **20** as adopted for the multiples of Thousand by the ancient Sinhala ** Ganaka** [ Accountants]???.

**The Inscription at Nattakanda**.

The inscription has symbols No 16 has two Horizontal Strokes to the left of a symbol that is similar to the Numeral Ten. Does this mean that it it indicates the symbol 30???.