Summary of the video Mysteries of the Inca New insights in the Andes | DW Documentary

Executive Summary:

The DW Documentary, “Mysteries of the Inca: New insights in the Andes,” explores the Inca civilization’s complexities, offering new insights into their history, culture, and resistance against Spanish conquest. The Incas, known for their vast empire stretching from Ecuador to Chile, are traditionally believed to have lacked a written language. However, recent discoveries challenge this notion and paint a picture of a sophisticated society with advanced record-keeping methods and a strategic approach to expansion and governance.


  • Anthropologist Sabine Hyland
  • Archaeologists Christophe Delaere, Peter Eeckhout, Marcial Medina Huanca, Lucy Salazar, Bethany Turner, Brian Bauer, and Bat-ami Artzi

Important Points and Facts:

  • The Incas ruled a massive empire without a traditional written language, using quipus (knot structures) for record-keeping.
  • New research by anthropologist Sabine Hyland suggests quipus may also represent syllables and words, potentially revealing a form of Inca writing.
  • Archaeologist Christophe Delaere’s underwater excavations in Lake Titicaca suggest the Incas adopted and intensified local religious rituals to integrate conquered peoples.
  • Lucy Salazar and Bethany Turner’s research indicates that Machu Picchu served as a microcosm of the Inca Empire, housing workers from various conquered regions.
  • Peter Eeckhout’s findings at Pachacamac show the Incas’ symbolic resistance to Spanish conquest through the ritual destruction of sacred objects.
  • Brian Bauer’s search for the lost city of Vilcabamba, the last Inca stronghold, reveals the scale of the city and the Incas’ continued resistance against the Spanish.

Actionable Items:

  1. Further exploration and excavation of Inca sites to uncover additional evidence of their culture and resistance strategies.
  2. Analysis of quipus from various locations to decipher potential Inca writing and understand their communication system.
  3. Preservation of Inca heritage and dissemination of new findings to the public for a better appreciation of their contributions to history.

Sentiment of the Video: The documentary conveys a sense of admiration and respect for the Inca civilization’s achievements and sophistication. It portrays a narrative of discovery and revelation, shedding light on previously misunderstood aspects of Inca society and highlighting the resilience and ingenuity of the Incas in the face of conquest. The sentiment is one of restoring voice and agency to a civilization that has long been defined by its conquerors.

Mysteries of the Inca New insights in the Andes | DW Documentary