THE ORIGIN OF MATHEMATICS is usually placed in Greece, in the fifth century B.C., when its two main branches were founded: arithmetic by Pythagoras and geometry by Thales and Anaximander. These developments were, of course, major breakthroughs in the history of this science. However, it does not go far enough back to say that mathematics has its source in antiquity. Its roots go deeper into the past, to an important period that laid the groundwork for the Ancient Greeks and that we might call the “prehistory” of mathematics. People did not wait until the fifth century to tackle mathematical problems – especially the concrete problems they faced every day.