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Paper has been the main way to transmit knowledge since the first millennium. Before paper was made from cotton rags or wood pulp as we think of today, books were handwritten onto substances such as papyrus or parchment (animal hides). The creation of parchment required skinning an animal, stretching out the hide, wetting and drying it, and cutting it down using a special knife. Five pages of the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights were written on parchment. It wasn’t until much later that the invention of the printing press would use stamping techniques to print on what we now call paper. Because of the skilled artisanship that paper production required, written knowledge was very valuable. As a result, texts were preserved, reused, recycled and handed down for generations.