From the Vault: The Inca Kingdom of Fibers


A cotton and agave fiber Inca khipu as seen at the 'The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire,' an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian June 24, 2015. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to the Kingdom of the Inca, where hundreds of rope bridges connect an imperial highway system and fiber-armored soldiers wield woven slings against the enemies of the Emperor. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the khipu system of knotted, colored string that served as a physical notation system in lieu of written language. (Originally published March 8, 2016)

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Topics in this Podcast: Communication, history, language