Great Video Series – Lost Worlds of South America

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Saturday, Dec 9, 2017, 4:00 pm

Edgewood Auditorium
575 Osgood Street
North Andover, MA

Lecture 21 — The Khipu — Language Hidden in Knots

In this lecture, we explore one of the technologies that made the complex but efficient Inca system function: the khipu, a knotted string device used to record information. Primary sources tell us that khipus were created and read by multitudes of scribes known as khipucamayuqs. Unfortunately, the practice of knotting khipus disappeared within 50 years of Spanish contact, but chroniclers and modern scholarship have allowed us to decode the decimal positioning system and knotting categories used for accounting. What remains unknown is whether khipus also constituted a written language. Several factors suggest that they did, but we have yet to find the information we need to decode this language.

Lecture 22 — Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

This lecture focuses on one of the most well-known archaeological sites in South America, Machu Picchu. Its grandeur has given rise to the idea that this site was once a city, but it was more likely a summer palace of the ruler Pachacuti. The numerous astronomical features oat the site suggest not only the typical Inca reverence for the sun but also workshop of the moon and the Milky Way. A vast collection of objects excavated by Hiram Bingham in 1920 was kept in secret for decades at Yale but has since been returned to Peru as national treasures.


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