April 26, 2017

New Khipu Discovery

A new discovery by Sabine Hyland of St. Andrews University in Scotland about Inca Khipus looked at two khipus kept by village elders and found that they have 14 different colors that allow for 95 unique cord patterns. They could represent syllables and words. The khipus have been kept in a wooden box by elders in the village of San Juan de Collata. Unlike most known khipus which are made of cotton, these two khipus are made from the hair and fiber of  vicuna, alpaca, guanaco, llama, deer, and the rodent vizcacha. A Spanish chronicler who claimed that khipus made from animal fiber “exhibited a diversity of vivid colors and could record historical narratives with the same ease as European books.” The problem with the new khipus is that they only date to the mid-18th century.This brings into question how closely related these khipus are to the ancient ones, and if these khipus are influenced by the Spanish alphabet and language. Researchers will now use computer technology to try to unravel more understanding of khipus.

National Geographic has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News on Tumblr

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