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Knot direction in a khipu/alphabetic text from the Central Andes

By Sabine Patricia Hyland, Gene Ware and Madison Clark


Khipus are knotted-string devices that were used in the Inka Empire for communication and for recording information. We recently analyzed the names and associated khipu cords in a newly discovered hybrid khipu/alphabetic text from the Central Andes. Results indicate a significant relationship in the text between knot direction and a form of social organization known as moieties, in which S-knots correspond to the upper (Hanan) moiety and Z-knots correspond to the lower (Urin) moiety. This relationship suggests that knot direction was used to indicate moiety in Andean khipus and, as such, may represent the first decipherment of a structural element in khipus since the decoding of the number system in the 1920s.PostprintPeer reviewe

Topics: Andean archaeology, Epigraphy, Andean anthropology, GN Anthropology, GN
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.7183/1045-6635.25.2.189
OAI identifier:

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