Gary Urton

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Gary Urton is the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies at Harvard University. He was previously Professor of Anthropology at Colgate University from 1978 to 2001. He received his B.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1969, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1971 and 1979, respectively.

Urton is a specialist in Andean archaeology, particularly the quipu (khipu) numerical recording system used in the Inca empire in the 15th and 16th centuries. He is the most prominent advocate of the theory that the quipus encode linguistic as well as numerical information. From 2001 to 2005 he was a MacArthur Fellow.

His teaching Specialties include South America – the Andes, Amazonia; Native people and cultures of North and South America; topics: social/cultural anthropology, anthropology and history, primitive art, state formation.

Selected Publications[edit]

  • The Khipus of Laguna de los Condores, Lima, 2008.
  • Signs of the Inka Khipu: Binary Coding in the Andean Knotted-String Records. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2003.
  • Inca Myths. London: British Museum Press and Austin, TX: Press, 1999. (Translated into Spanish, German, Russian, Korean, Polish, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, and French).
  • The Social Life of Numbers: A Quechua Ontology of Numbers and Philosophy of Arithmetic. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1997
  • The History of a Myth: Pacariqtambo and the Origin of the Inkas. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1990.
  • At the Crossroads of the Earth and the Sky: An Andean Cosmology. Latin American Monographs, no. 55, 1981.

Gary Urton's homepage at Harvard