Jamie's Blog

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Incan rope writing

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Wired has an interesting story about a researcher who is trying to decode the Incan writing system. It seems that the Incas didn't invent a written language. Rather they kept records using knots and rope. These records were called Khipu. Unfortunately, with the Spanish conquest of the Incan empire, the knowledge of how to read these records was lost. In 1923 an anthropologist named Leland Lock discovered a way to read numbers that were stored in the rope strings, but so far no one has been able to read words. Now there is a new research project, the Khipu Database Project, that is attempting to identify and read the records from the remaining Khipu that are in museums.

Here is the Wired story. Wired 15.01: Untangling the Mystery of the Inca
The official Khipu database project homepage KDBHome

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