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incan records

Posted by
Ryan (Vancouver, Canada) on 13 April 2008 in Lifestyle & Culture.

I was rather sick today - some kind of horrible stomach bug - but I really, really wanted to see the museums that we hadn't seen yet, so I managed to make it (with numerous visits to the washroom). Quite impressive and well-put-together.

This item is evidence of the only kind of permanent communication used by the Incas. Supposedly, one king was told in a dream that written communication was corrupting his empire, so all of it was destroyed. Every last piece. All communication was done by messenger. These pieces existed, it's believed, as a type of accounts book for business. Each string represented something traded - corn, potatoes, textiles, gold - and the combination of length and knot indicated....well, they're not really sure. No one has figured these things out. It's hard to imagine a society running without any writing, especially one covering half a continent, but it did.