Prehistoric Roots – Around 35,000 BC
Accounting by its most basic definition is a method of recording economic transactions, which allows users to arrive at judgments, projections and reasonable conclusions. The first accounting artifacts were uncovered in the city of Jericho in Israel from among the ruins that date as far back as 7,000 years ago.
However, as archaeologists unearthed numerous artifacts in different parts of the world, additional evidences about the origins of accounting show proof that the discipline takes its roots during the prehistoric era known as the Paleolithic period.
The discovery of prehistoric caves in Czechoslovakia (1937) and in some parts of Africa produced evidences of how cavemen devised their own system of recording economic transactions. The jawbone of a wolf found in the Czechoslovakian cave revealed fifty-five notches carved into groups of five. Although the significance of the number is unexplained, the pattern of the carvings denoted a form of tally system.
In 1960, archaeological finds in the buried remains of a small African community in Congo included a piece of animal bone bearing similar carved-markings grouped in 11, 13, 17 and 19. This was later called the “Ishango Bone", which was named after the African farming settlement that was known to have existed in the area but was later buried under tons of volcanic debris
Thirteen years later, the 1973 excavation report of the artifacts found in the Border Cave of Lebombo Mountains in Swaziland revealed a more discernible style of tally system. The fibular bone of a baboon showed notch-carvings in groups of 29. The notches were believed to be a way of recording the number of days or nights that pass before the moon re-appears. Many interpreted this as a method of counting the number of months until harvest time.