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The work of John V. Murra remains fundamental to an understanding of Andean human ecology and Inca economics. Nevertheless, some of his most important articles have never been published in English. At the request of Heather Lechtman, Murra translated “Las etno-categories de un khipu estatal”. In this work, Murra reconstructed a quipu prepared and maintained by the lords of Xauxa (Jauja) in the central Peruvian highlands during the early Colonial Period and explored what it may have recorded in terms of Andean thought. We publish Murra’s translation for the first time. In addition to John Murra’s translation, Andean Past Special Publication 13 contains a preface and notes by Monica Barnes, an account by Heather Lechtman, previously published in Chungara Revista de Antropología Chilena, of how she made use of Murra’s article in her MIT classes, and the Spanish language version of Murra’s article, first published in 1974.

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DigitalCommons@Umaine for Andean Past


Orono, Maine


khipu, quipu, Xauxa, Jauja, John V. Murra, Inca, Inka, recording systems


Archaeological Anthropology

The Ethno-Categories of a Regional Khipu