Inka Khipus remain undeciphered, but current computational research may unlock their secrets

'An Inka Khipu'

An Inka Khipu from Inkawasi in Peru


Jon Clindaniel applies current Data Science techniques to work on deciphering Inka khipus. Instead of writing, the Inka used a system of knots and cords to record information on devices called "khipus". Spanish chroniclers tell us that khipus were used to record everything from census records, to myths, songs, and calendars. While scholars deciphered the khipu number system in the 1920s, non-numerical signs that might refer to words or concepts remain a mystery.

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