Did the Incas Write and Keep Records?

did-incas-write-keep-records Credit: Jim Dyson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Incas did not have writing in the traditional sense. Rather, they used a series of knotted braids called khipu for bookkeeping and recording information.

The braids of the khipu were usually made of llama or alpaca hair and were colored and spun in various ways to represent everything from census information to military organization. However, some anthropologists theorize that the colors and weaving of the khipu were actually used to convey meaning, much like a written language. They theorize that the khipu were coded in seven-bit sequences in the same way modern computers use eight-bit sequences to store and decode information. However, no narrative khipu has yet to be discovered.