Wampum was a kind of ceremonial money used by peoples native to the east and northeast of what is now the United States. It was made by stringing cylindrical beads made from the shells of several kinds of shellfish.
Wampum had great ceremonial value, and was used in ritual gift giving. It was sometimes used as a badge of office by tribal leaders. It was also sometimes used to authenticate messengers and their messages. It is not known how far back in the past wampum was used, but it is thought to date back to at least the 1500s.
Its ceremonial value remained, and wampum was used as a way to remember events, perhaps something like the knotted strings used by the Incas to record events.
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