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Latest Gary Urton Stories

2005-08-11 22:05:00

While most ancient cultures recorded civil matters and business transactions by inscribing characters on 2-dimensional sheets, new evidence shows Peru's original inhabitants used a 3-dimensional system of knotted strings to keep track of things. In the Aug. 12 edition of the journal Science, Harvard University anthropologist Gary Urton and database developer Carrie Brezine say their computer analysis of 21 of the knotted objects, known as "khipu," revealed distinct patterns that help confirm...

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2005-08-12 08:00:00

WASHINGTON -- Three figure-eight knots tied into strings may be the first word from the ancient Inca in centuries. While the Incan empire left nothing that would be considered writing by today's standards, it did produce knotted strings in various colors and arrangements that have long puzzled historians and anthropologists. Many of these strings have turned out to be a type of accounting system, but interpreting them has been complex. Now, Gary Urton and Carrie J. Brezine of Harvard...

2005-08-11 13:39:16

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Incas' curious knotted strings called khipu were probably used by bosses and accountants to keep track of taxes and tributes and carried both words and numerical information, two experts said on Thursday. The dyed bunches of string, also spelled quipu by some scholars, have confused outsiders since Spanish conquerors first described them 500 years ago. Most experts agree they are ledgers of a sort but no one...


Word of the Day
call-note
  • The call or cry of a bird or other animal to its mate or its young.
'Call-note' is newer than 'bird-call,' which originally referred to 'an instrument for imitating the note of birds' but now also refers to 'the song or cry of a bird.'
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