Incas and Writing

A Quipu Some Quipus were quite large

The Incas had no alphabet, so how did they keep track of everything?  They used to pass stories down from generation to generation, but that could not help them keep records on population or other things.  What they used were "quipus".  Quipu means "to tie" and that how records were kept by tying knots onto string.  Each knot depending on not only on its position on the string, but on which string it was tied would mean something. 

Specially trained administrators called "quipucamayocs", learned to construct and to read the quipu.  Unfortunately not a lot of quipus exist today.  And no one is exactly sure how to read them because this knowledge was lost when the last "quipucamayoc" died. 

So how do we know anything about the Incas if they did not have writing?  Some stories of their history was passed from generation to generation.  Also the Spaniards wrote down a lot of the Inca stories. 

Previous

Next

Page 6