Did Ancient Andean People Know How to Write, do Math, or Keep Accounts Before the Spaniards Arrived?


Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 7:00pm

Speaker Gary Urton, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies

Gary Urton is Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard. He earned his M.A. in Ancient History and his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. His research focuses on a variety of topics in pre-Columbian and early colonial Andean cultural and intellectual history, drawing on materials and methods in archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnology. He is the author of many articles and of numerous books and edited volumes on Andean/Quechua cultures and Inka civilization. His books include: At the Crossroads of the Earth and the Sky (1981), The History of a Myth (1990), The Social Life of Numbers (1997), Inca Myths (1999), Signs of the Inka Khipu (2003), and Inka History in Knots: Reading Khipus as Primary Sources (2017). A former MacArthur Fellow (2001-2005) recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014-15, Urton is the Founder/Director of the Harvard Khipu Database Project, which seeks to decode the Inka recording device, the khipu (or quipu). He is currently collaborating with Brazilian archaeologists on the study of settlement patterns in the Amazon Basin.

Presented in collaboration with Harvard University Association of Peruvian Studies