The Quipus and Hiram Bingham
Hiram Bingham, the American explorer who found the ruins of Machu Picchu in 1911, wrote:
"The Incas had never acquired the art of writing, but they had developed an elaborate system of knotted cords called quipus. These were made of the wool of the alpaca or the llama, dyed in various colors, the significance of which was known to the magistrates. The cords were knotted in such a way to represent the decimal system and were fastened at close intervals along the principal strand of the quipus.
Thus an important message relating
to the progress of crops, the amount
of taxes collected, or the advance
of an enemy could be speedily sent
by the trained runners along the
Reference: ‘Lost City of the
Incas, The Story of Machu Picchu and
its Builders’ by Hiram Bingham.
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Lost City of the Incas
by Hiram Bingham, Hugh Thomson (Introduction)
Pub. Date: October 2003
From the Publisher:
A special illustrated edition of Hiram Bingham's classic work captures all the magnificence and mystery of the amazing archeological sites he uncovered. Early in the 20th century, Bingham ventured into the wild and then unknown country of the Eastern Peruvian Andes--and in 1911 came upon the fabulous Inca city that made him famous: Machu Picchu. In the space of one short season he went on to discover two more lost cities, including Vitcos, where the last Incan Emperor was assassinated.