Sabine Hyland is an anthropologist and ethnohistorian her work explores the little-known cultures of the Andes, both past and present. Her research has taken her to remote mountain villages in Central and Southern Peru to meet with native community leaders as well as with local healers and diviners. She also investigates archives in Peru and Spain, analyzing 400-year old manuscripts for the information they reveal about the Inka past. . . .read more

Discover Magazine Feature Article

“Unravelling a Secret” by Bridget Alex. October 2017 issue of Discover Magazine features a major article on my khipu decipherment work. “High in the Peruvian Andes, in the remote village of San Juan de Collata, sits a wooden box that’s sacred to the locals who keep a close guard over it. It contains 487 cords of twisted and dyed animal fibers that, according to its caretakers, encode messages planning an 18th century rebellion. Anthropologist Sabine Hyland was invited by community

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How Khipus Encoded Labour Obligations

For those interested in knotted cords and ancient writing systems, please check out my newly published article in the Journal of Material Culture, “How Khipus Indicated Labour Obligations in an Andean Village: An Explanation of Colour Banding, Seriation and Ethnocategories”. This describes my latest research into the khipus that were used in Huarochiri province, Peru, until the 1940s, including interviews with Mecias Pumajulka, the grandson of the last khipu expert in Anchucaya. It’s now published and available on JStor! For

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Rite of passage for a young Chanka girl

This is me in the home of Yenifer, a young Chanka girl in the small village of Uranmarca, site of the Inka way-station for travellers crossing the Pampas River. Yenifer’s parents asked me and my archeologist friend, Brian Bauer, to give Yenifer her first haircut. This is an ancient ceremony — as god parents, Brian and I both gave her funds to start her herd of animals. After we each cut one of her braids, Yenifer’s father put the hair

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