This talk focuses on a set of six khipus (Inka knotted-string recording devices) from the Santa Valley, on the north-central coast of Peru, and a mid-17th century document from the same region. The six khipus display an arrangement of cords and knot values that strongly suggest that they contain census and tribute information recorded in the written document. This talk explores the possibility that the document and khipus pertain to the same accounting event, thus providing us with what has been termed a "Rosetta khipu."
Gary Urton is the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies in the Archaeology program and Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. His research focuses on a variety of topics in pre-Hispanic and early colonial intellectual history in the Andes drawing on materials and methods in archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnology. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Andean/Quechua cultures and Inka civilization, including At the Crossroads of the Earth and the Sky (1981), The History of a Myth (1990), The Social Life of Numbers (1997), Inca Myths (1999), Signs of the Inka Khipu (2003), and The Khipus of Laguna de los Cóndores (2008). He is the Founder/Director of the Khipu Database Project at Harvard University.
Free and open to the public. A light lunch will be served