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

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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Cook? Victim? Poisoner?

Is this young Andean woman a victim of Father Albadán’s abuse? Is she his cook, Francisca, whom he forced to work for him through fear? And if so, did she slip some fatal herbs into his soup one day? I chose this haunting image for the cover of The Chankas and the Priest to represent both Albadán’s victims and the woman who may have brought about his untimely demise. It was important to me that there be a native Andean

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