Twisted textile cords may contain clues to Inca messages

An anthropologist is unraveling a writing system in villagers’ artifacts from the 1700s

bundle of animal-hair cords

MESSAGE CORD  A bundle of animal hairs signals the beginning of a sequence of twisted and knotted cords on an 18th century khipu from a Central Andean village. A bright red tuft of deer hair is followed by a woven cone of hairs from different animals mixed with metallic fibers. New research suggests this and another khipu contain a type of writing.

William Hyland 

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