Every civilization has a way of keeping accounts and maintaining records. Usually, records are kept by government officials and civil servants in modern civilizations. In the ancient world, things weren’t very different. Rulers often had civil servants who would keep records and maintain accounts. Ancient Peru too had its own way of record keeping.
It needs to be remembered that each ancient civilization had its own way of keeping records. The Incas were no exception and they meticulously maintained all kinds of records and accounts. The method used by the Inca was called the Quipu.
What is Quipu?
If you were wondering what a Quipu is, we shall explain it to you very clearly. Quipu was a device that consisted of horizontal strings. Each of these horizontal screens had beads attached to hundreds of other strings hanging from them. The strings were used to convey and record information by tying knots in different colors. This extensive system of record-keeping has now finally been recognized by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.
The Quipu was finally granted the status of national cultural heritage. Angela Acevedo, an official at the Peruvian Ministry of culture, revealed that the decision was taken in order to promote Peruvian culture and protect its identity.
Quipu in modernity
One must say it is quite ironic to give the status of cultural heritage to a system of record-keeping when those who kept those records lost their civilization forever due to the effects of colonization and modernization. It is not clear if tourists will be able to look at a Quipu right away but some museums in Peru should be having some on display.
It is almost mesmerizing to think that strings were used to maintain extensive records when everything is digitized today. It shouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the Quipu is a form of ancient computerized data!