Incan Binary!
June 23, 2003 6:40 AM   Subscribe

The Incas had binary! Archaeologists have long known that khipu strings were used by the incas to store arithmetic records. Now, it's believed that they used a 7-bit binary code to store all kinds of "written" information. Well? Who's going to be the first to translate Harry Potter onto a khipu string?
posted by unreason (7 comments total)
Who would have guessed it ? Thanks. :)
posted by plep at 7:05 AM on June 23, 2003

Who would have guessed it ? Thanks. :)
posted by plep at 7:05 AM on June 23, 2003

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those with a sex-life and those who understand binary.
posted by signal at 7:28 AM on June 23, 2003

That's perfect signal. I have to email that out to some friends (footnoting you of course)
posted by pjgulliver at 7:40 AM on June 23, 2003

The incas may have had binary, as this is just a theory from somone hoping to find the equivalent of the Rosetta stone (which came in 3 languages, BTW). Good luck with repeating the incredible odds of that one. And good luck with the interpretation too. Expect more questions than answers.
posted by magullo at 7:42 AM on June 23, 2003

While it's by no means definitive, this is still a fascinating conjecture. And I just cant let this go...

Unfortunately, in this as in many other encounters, the Spanish burnt the khipu and punished the native for having it, a typical response that did not engender an understanding of how the Inca used their khipu.

Well, no, I suppose it didn't.
posted by soyjoy at 8:29 AM on June 23, 2003

soyjoy, once you get over that one, you still have to face another reality of life: the huaqueros. These modern day tomb robbers might very well be destroying their own glorious(?) past - as well as anything that they find which is not made out of shiny metal.
posted by magullo at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2003

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