» Skip to content

By Andy Ross

Recent articles

View all stories

An ancient language

Dr Sabine Hyland, a professor at the University of St Andrews in the splendidly-named School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies, has been working to find out if the Incas had a written language.

The Inca system of recording numbers used coloured animal hairs, twisted,  known as khipus. Alpaca, llamas and deer provided the hair and it has long been thought that this system only worked with numbers. Now Dr Hyland has managed to reveal that the system records phonetic syllables too, and has managed to "phonetically decipher two lineage names on the khipus. 

Uncovering this system means that it will be possible to use other khipus to reveal more about the Incas; a wonderful opportunity to broaden the history of the ancient people. 

You can read more about this story here. With thanks to Ms You-Know-Who-You-Are for the link.