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Writing of the Americas

Ancient writing in the Americas, including the Maya, Aztec, and Incan civilizations, has a long established history, including carvings on stone, leather, paper, and in the mysterious knots on a string.

History of the Maya Codices
From FAMSI, another fabulous website, this one by Randa Marhenke on the history of the Maya Codices, and including downloadable pdf files of the codices themselves.

Lakota Winter Counts
This wonderful on-line exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution is an introduction to the historical records of the Lakota (or Teton) Sioux, who maintained a record of past events in pictures and text on buffalo hide called 'winter counts'. Flash and html versions.

Knotty Problems: the Ancient Writing System of the Inca
The ancient Inca empire ruled much of South America when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century AD, and they did it all without a written language. But did they?

Maguey Plan - Aztec City Map of the 16th Century
The Maguey Plan (Plano en papel de maguey) is the name of a 16th century map of part of a city within the Aztec empire, drawn on paper made of maguey (or agave).

Maya Codices
There are three surviving Maya codices known in the world: Dresden, Madrid, and Paris, named because that's where the codices ended up, in museums in those cities.

Quipu (Khipu, Quipo) - Ancient Writing System of the Incas Quipu
The quipu (also spelled khipu or quipo) is the only known precolumbian writing system in South America.

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