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String, and Knot, Theory of Inca Writing

String, and Knot, Theory of Inca Writing
trefwoorden: Inca - schrift - bronstijd - beschaving
Of all the major Bronze Age civilizations, only the Inca of South America appeared to lack a written language.
An exception embarrassing to anthropologists who habitually include writing as a defining attribute of a vibrant, complex culture deserving to be ranked a civilization.
The Inca left ample evidence of the other attributes: monumental architecture, technology, urbanization and political and social structures to mobilize people and resources. Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and the Maya of Mexico and Central America had all these and writing too.
The only possible Incan example of encoding and recording information could have been cryptic knotted strings known as khipu.
The knots are unlike anything sailors or Eagle Scouts tie. In the conventional view of scholars, most khipu (or quipu, in the Hispanic spelling) were arranged as knotted strings hanging from horizontal cords in such a way as to represent numbers for bookkeeping and census purposes. The khipu were presumably textile abacuses, hardly written documents.

Lees verder bij: The New York Times (11 augustus 2003)