double chup-chik 5000 years old

In sifrei kodesh (as well as in modern hebrew) we often signal acronyms or abbreviations with a character similar to a quotation mark, (") like so: בס''ד or חב''ד. In Israel today the symbol is called a double chup chik --I have no idea how one would actually spell this in english or hebrew. Apparently a very similar symbol was used in Sumerian writing 5000 years ago to note an absence of a number. (or (I'm willing to bet) a letter or other symbol)

Check out this Scientific American article for details. They're talking about the symbol's use as a replacement for the not-yet-invented zero in mathematics. But I'm willing to bet it's actually from a broader Sumerian usage meaning the absence of any symbol (potentially multiple symbols).


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