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Friday, August 12

Inca Tax Records Were Tied Up in Knots, Study Says

National Geographic News Inca Tax Records Were Tied Up in Knots, Study Says: "To record information, the ancient Inca used enigmatic devices called khipus, mop-like textiles. Made from cotton or animal hair, the objects consisted of multiple knotted strings hanging vertically from a single horizontal string. Khipus were probably used for more than just recording numbers. Some experts say they may have been a medium for recording historical information?possibly as a form of writing. Now a new study shows that khipus were used as documents in a sophisticated accounting system passed up through the Inca bureaucracy."

Khipus are among the most fascinating artifacts of the Inca, and Gary Urton from Harvard University has been among the most dogged investigators into their nature. His latest study has just been published in Science magazine. It's a comparison of 21 khipus.

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