The People behind the Project

Dr. Gary Urton is Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies in the Archeology Department at Harvard University. He has decades of experience living in the Andes and has been studying khipu intensely for over 12 years. Dr. Urton has personally recorded spin direction, knot direction, and attachment on hundreds of khipu, augmenting the existing information gathered by the Aschers in the 1970s and 1980s. In addition he has recorded data on many previously unstudied khipu, including the important collection in Chachapoyas. His recent book "Signs of the Inka Khipu" proposes a theory of binary coding as one way to structure continuing khipu analysis.

Dr. Gary Urton in Lima, Summer 2009


Julia Leitner has been working on the Khipu Database Project as an assistant for three years. A member of the class of 2013, she is studying History and Literature of Latin America.

Julia Leitner

Pavlo Kononenko is the current database administrator and assists Dr. Urton with searching for patterns in the khipu data using a diverse set of data analysis and visulization tools. Pavlo has worked as a software developer prior to enrolling at an MBA program at Harvard.

Pavlo Kononenko

Carrie J. Brezine was the KDB administrator from its inception, in 2002, through 2011. She wrote the original database application for the project and assisted in the study of samples in Europe, the U.S., and South America.  Brezine also served during that period as the textile consultant for the study of the Patrimonial Khipu of Rapaz, under the direction of Dr. Frank Salomon. During her time as KDB administrator, Brezine earned her Ph.D. in Archaeology at Harvard with a study of colonial textiles on the north coast of Peru.  Dr. Brezine is currently a Junior Fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows and an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.  Dr. Brezine continues to provide support as an informal consultant to the KDB project.

Carrie Brezine studying a khipu.











Last Updated August 2009

© 2009 Gary Urton & Carrie Brezine