Unraveling a Secret

The Inka Empire ruled millions without a written language. Keeping records was a knotty situation.

RELATED TAGS: ARCHAEOLOGY
unraveling-secret
High in the Peruvian Andes, in the remote village of San Juan de Collata, sits a wooden box that’s sacred to the locals who keep close guard over it. It contains 487 cords of twisted and dyed animal fibers that, according to its caretakers, encode messages planning an 18th-century rebellion. Anthropologist Sabine Hyland was invited by community members to study the strings — the first outsider permitted to view them — but only for 48 hours and under constant supervision. Althou...
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