Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:06 AM
Ichingcarpenter (36,908 posts)
Inca may have used binary code language
The vanished Inca civilisation of the Andes, long thought to have no writing, invented a seven-bit binary code to store information more than 500 years before the invention of the computer, argues an American anthropologist.
Begun in the Andean highlands of Chile and Colombia around 1200 AD, the Inca ruled the largest empire on Earth by the time their last emperor, Atahualpa, was garroted by Spanish conquistadors in 1533.
But the voice of the Inca has never been heard; it has long been considered the only major Bronze Age civilisation without a written language.
Professor Gary Urton, an anthropologist at Harvard University in Boston and a specialist in Pre-Columbian studies, is now challenging that assumption in a new book, Signs of the Inka Khipu. He argues the Incas had a written language disguised in the form of elaborate knotted strings known as khipu.
Derived from the word for 'knot' in the Quechuan language of the Inca - still widely spoken in the the Andes highlands - these decorative objects consist of one main cord to which are attached several pendant strings. These, which can carry subsidiary or tertiary strings, bear clusters of knots.
In 1923, science historian L. Leland Locke proved that the khipu were more than decorative; they were a sort of textile abacus, their knots used to record calculations.
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Inca may have used binary code language (Original post)
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