Visible Language Series Lecture
To Write or Knot? Another Route to Record Keeping in the Ancient Americas
Listen to the lecture
The Inca quipu or khipu (“knot”) is one of the most unusual systems of record keeping devised by any society of the ancient world. These bundles of brightly colored, knotted cords were said by the Spaniards, who conquered the Inca Empire in the early 16th century, to have been used to record both numerical/quantitative information and narratives of the past (histories, poems, songs, and more).
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology presents the illustrated talk, "To Write or Knot? Another Route to Record Keeping in the Ancient Americas" on Thursday, February 10, 2011 at Harvard's Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St.). The talk will explore the recording principles that supported quipu record-keeping both for state administration and for the performance of historical narratives. It is part of the Peabody Museum's year-long Visible Language lecture series. A public reception will follow at the Peabody Museum.
The speaker is Gary Urton, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University.