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

Sabine Patricia Hyland, Gene Ware, Madison Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalLatin American Antiquity: A Journal for the Society of American Archaeology
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Andean archaeology
  • Epigraphy
  • Andean anthropology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Knot direction in a khipu/alphabetic text from the Central Andes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this