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SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human

Sep 24, 2019

Anthropologist Sabine Hyland attempts to uncover the secrets held in twisted and colored Andean cords called khipus. Thanks to the collaborative approach of anthropologist Sabine Hyland and local communities, outsiders are finally coming to understand what these khipus mean—for the people of the Andes and for the rest of us.

Sabine Hyland is a professor of anthropology at the University of St. Andrews. Follow her on Twitter @Coyagirl.

For more on khipus, read Hyland’s article about the Collata khipus at “Unraveling an Ancient Code Written in Strings.” The book Chip mentions at the end of this episode is called Wisdom Sits in Places by Keith Basso.

SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human is part of the American Anthropological Association Podcast Library.

Correction: Hyland confirmed for us that the 1783 rebellion was against the Spanish, not the Inca, as she said in one quote in the initial version of this episode. We have since removed the error.

Music for this episode includes:

  • “Denzel Sprak,” “Weathervane,” “Are We Loose Yet,” “Bidious Transit,” “Borough,” “Gullwing Sailor,” “Cases to Rest” by Blue Dot Sessions
  • “4,” “Cerutti,” “Ballgames,” “In Transit” by Matthew Simonson
  • “Hero Down” by Kevin Macleod