In the Apple TV Series "See", are the strings they read real? I think the last episode or 2 I heard them called knots.

Just curious if it's a real way of communications or made up. Doesn't look like they use Braille much in the series. Searching Google has been difficult because of the series name.

1 Answer 1


Yes, it's based on a real mode of 'writing' used by the Incas, known as Quipu or khipu.

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©The Trustees of the British Museum

There was an article I remembered reading in the New Scientist a few years ago about it - managed to find the online version…
We thought the Incas couldn't write. These knots change everything
A lost language encoded in intricate cords is finally revealing its secrets – and it could upend what we know about Incan history and culture

  • 1
    beat me by a minute hahaha
    – Luciano
    Oct 5, 2021 at 15:47
  • Learned about khipu from a Clive Cussler novel of all places. Oct 6, 2021 at 1:29
  • 2
    Strange. I remember reading about native Americans/First Nations recording messages with knotted rope/string when I was a boy in the 1980s. Maybe they knew it was a language but didn’t know how to translate it, and New Scientist just implied otherwise to up the drama a tick. Oct 6, 2021 at 1:43
  • 1
    @ToddWilcox For a very long time we thought the knots only recorded numbers - similar to Akkadian shipping logs/accounting tablets in cuneiform. It's only in the last 5 years or so that we have started deciphering non-numeric knots.
    – slebetman
    Oct 6, 2021 at 3:19
  • fun kid fact : Quipu would means 'who smell' in French. Yes it's irrelevant.
    – dna
    Oct 7, 2021 at 12:46

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