"A Jaredite Writing System" by George Potter

Harvard University archaeologists and mathematicians are currently using super computers to decipher the ancient Peruvian writing system known as Quipus. In my book Nephi in the Promised Land, I documented that during the Nephite time period ancient Peruvians had at least two writing systems, 1) a hand-written language system and 2) the colored-string-knot system-the quipus.

The Jaredites also had a written language, including one that was recorded on metal plates. However, no evidence has ever been found of an ancient American writing system that dates back to the period of the early Jaredites. In fact, the only civilizations in the Americas that date to the first 1,000 years of the Jaredites in the New World are the civilizations that sprang up along the Peruvian shoreline during the third millennium BC.

That was, until 2005 when SABC News published a release entitled: "Caral: Ancient Peru City Reveals 5000-year-old 'writing'". The news release stated: "Archeologists in Peru have found a 'quipu' on the site of the oldest city in the Americas, indicating that the device, a sophisticated arrangement of knots and strings used to convey detailed information, was in use thousands of years earlier than previously believed."


The article continued: "But Ruth Shady, an archeologist leading investigations into the Peruvian coastal city of Caral, said quipus were among a treasure trove of articles discovered at the site, which are about 5,000 years old. This is the oldest quipu and it shows us that this society... also had a system of 'writing' [which] would continue down the ages until the Inca empire and would last some 4,500 years," Shady said. She was speaking before the opening in Lima today of an exhibition of the artifacts that shed light on Caral, which she called one of the world's oldest civilizations.[i]     

Why is this discovery so important? The Book of Mormon states that ancient Americans had a written language as far back as the third millennium B.C. Before the discovery of the Caral quipu, archaeologists rejected this claim. Now it is a documented fact. 

[i] . Caral: Ancient Peru City Reveals 5,000-year-old 'writing', July 19, 2005, Source SABC NEWS,http://incas.homestead.com/quipu/caral_oldest_quipu.html (assessed July 1, 2011).