Past event

Saints Talk: Professor Sabine Hyland Unravelling an Ancient Code Written in Strings

The Development team is delighted to invite you to the next instalment in its Saints Talk series, from Professor Sabine Hyland on ‘Unravelling an Ancient Code Written in Strings'.

Professor Hyland is teaming with Andean locals to solve the enigma of a mysterious form of writing with strings. For over 15 years, she has collaborated with elders in remote Andean villages to discover new insights into how native Peruvians communicated through 3D-coloured cords known as “khipus”.

Sabine's research has uncovered isolated communities where khipus — once thought to have been wiped out during European invasion in the 1500s – were used within living memory. The Incas kept their accounts, histories and sacred knowledge on khipus; if we could decipher these knotted cords, we could gain an insider's view to their extraordinary empire.

Sabine's work has demonstrated, among other things, that khipus told a story partially through the tactile feel of different animal fibres and the twist of knots and thread, suggesting an indigenous epistemology in which the sense of touch plays as vital a role as sight.

Register for the event online.

If you have missed any of the past Saints Talk Lectures, or can't make the live stream of this one, you can watch them again on the Development YouTube channel.