The Incas never invented the wheel, never figured out the arch, and never discovered iron. But they were masters of fiber. They built ships out of fiber (you can still find reed boats sailing on Lake Titicaca). They made armor out of fiber (pound for pound, it was stronger than the armor worn by the Conquistadors). Their greatest weapon, the sling, was woven from fibers, and was powerful enough to split a steel sword. They even communicated in fiber, developing a language of knotted strings known as quipo, which has yet to be decoded. So when it came to solving a problem like how to get people and goods across the steep gorges of the Andes, it was only natural that they would think about the problem in terms of fiber.
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