Harvard undergrad cracks code of knotted Inca rope used as ‘an ancient Excel spreadsheet’
Read Story Transcript
Instead of partying during his spring break, Harvard undergrad Manny Medrano stayed on campus and deciphered the meaning of an ancient Inca khipu.
Khipus are knotted string devices used by the Inca people to record information like censuses and tax records.
“For about a hundred years, researchers have understood that many of these artifacts — there’s about 1,000 of these khipus still in existence today — encoded mathematical data,” Medrano, 21, told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.
“Kind of like an ancient Excel spreadsheet.”
But Medrano discovered that the ropes may, in fact, contain far more than just numbers.
Their complex colour system, he said, appears also to represent more complex nar… Continue Reading (3 minute read)