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Khipu Accounting in Ancient Peru

Science  12 Aug 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5737, pp. 1065-1067
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113426

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Abstract

Khipu are knotted-string devices that were used for bureaucratic recording and communication in the Inka Empire. We recently undertook a computer analysis of 21 khipu from the Inka administrative center of Puruchuco, on the central coast of Peru. Results indicate that this khipu archive exemplifies the way in which census and tribute data were synthesized, manipulated, and transferred between different accounting levels in the Inka administrative system.

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