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Any Ancient Civilizations Without Writing?


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  • 1 year later...

Hi. Here is a good example. Students of the Inka khipu (or quipu, Quechua for “knot”), the knotted-string devices used for record keeping in the Inka Empire, have long been frustrated by our inability to interpret the information recorded on these devices, especially since Spanish chroniclers say that any indigenous, first-hand information on Inka history was registered on khipus. This article argues, first, that we are now able to interpret many Inka administrative khipus, and second, that when we succeed in compiling numerous administrative interpretations, or readings, they can be assembled into an indigenous history of the Inka Empire. It is further argued that such a history would follow the contours of an Annales history, the style of history writing that privileged administrative records, such as censuses and tribute records, over those focusing on the lives and deeds of individuals.The article then questions how the Inkas conceived of and structured history. Their history may not have been structured like Western linear history, but rather in cyclical form, with events repeated over time (comparison is made to the Gada system of Ethiopia).

Edited by GAHD
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