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Dr Sabine Hyland has been awarded a 3 year Leverhulme Research Project Grant for the project, “Hidden Texts of the Andes: Deciphering the ‘Khipus’ (Cord Writing) of Peru”.

What if we could read the Inkas’ own accounts of their history instead of relying upon biased Spanish chroniclers?  The Inka writing system of knotted cords — khipus — recorded histories and other information, yet remains undeciphered.  Hyland’s research in the Central Andes has uncovered Peruvian villages where khipus — once thought extinct — were used until recently, providing vital insights into how khipus functioned.  Deciphering the 800+ extant khipus would revolutionise our understanding of Andean civilisation.

This project will analyse these ethnographic khipus for insights that will advance khipu decipherment; the grant provides funding for a doctoral student and a postdoctoral Research Assistant to work on the grant full-time for three years.

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