Abstract and Keywords
The Incas used the quipu, a knotted cord device, for administrative and historical record-keeping. This chapter summarizes the modern scholarship on the quipu, which uses colonial documents and analyses of the construction and numerical composition of surviving quipus. Seventeenth-century sources describe how quipu records were calculated using the yupana, a simple device for performing basic arithmetic functions. Most of the extant quipus are found in museums or private collections, removed from their original context, but the recent discovery of several quipus that were left at the coastal site of Inkawasi when it was abandoned offer a unique opportunity to consider how they were used to register the movement of staple goods moving in and out of an Inca imperial storage facility.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.