How did the Incas store their knowledge?
And can it be decrypted?
The ancient Incas were rulers of a vast empire in South America. They left behind temples, monuments and a continent spanning road system… but no written language.
Historians have long wondered how such a complex civilization could exist without one.
But then, among other surviving artifacts, researchers noticed unusual skeins of knotted string. The Incas called them “Khipu.” The knots are tied in patterns that suggest they might hold information. But today, no one knows the language of the knots, or what they say.
What kind of information do they hold? And is there any way to decrypt them, so we can learn the wisdom of the Incas?
The secret is revealed in the premiere broadcast of Museum Secrets: Inside the American Museum of Natural History
Our on-camera expert for this museum secret is Gary Urton, Harvard anthropologist and author of Signs of the Inka Khipu: Binary Coding in the Andean Knotted-String Records.
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