There are other works too that are dependable for the general outline. Apart from Gordon Childe (only for the ancient world), the Penguin collection The Treasury of Mathematics (1965, 1968) introductories: H. Midonick and revision: Minetta and Reginald Vesselo and the Indian collection under Debiprasad Chattopadhyay are not bad for general outline – the latter for the Indian development. The historical sketches that came to my notice are not always free from inaccuracies but, so far as they pertain to non-essential detail, the sketches are good for the general outline.

From: Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk@GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Monday, 5 December 2011 9:07 PM
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Fw: [INDOLOGY] The decimal system

There is a substantial specialist literature on the history of numerals, from Smith and Karpinski (1911) and Florian Cajori (1929) through to Georges Ifrah, Victor Katz and Charles Burnett (2006).  Some of this has been mentioned in this forum before, I believe.  It would be best to refer to that literature before posting further notes on the topic.  The most pertinent parts of this literature for India have been cited and discussed by Kim Plofker in her 2009 book Mathematics in India, especially chapter 3.

Dr Dominik Wujastyk