Researchers studying remnants of the Incan empire believe they are getting closer to solving the mystery of their strange devices known as khipu.
Comprised of knotted strings hanging from a cord, the khipu is thought to have been a rudimentary calculator used in the Incan culture.
The historical record also indicates that khipu were used to convey messages and record information.
Despite knowing the various uses for the khipu, researchers have found deciphering the devices to be a vexing mystery.
However a recent discovery in Peru may shed new light on the enigmatic instrument.
Unlike previously discovered khipu, which were unearthed from the graves on Incan scribes, a new batch of instruments were discovered in an excavated Incan storehouse.
These freshly found khipu provide a glimpse of how the devices may have been used on a day-to-day basis.
The 'real time' khipus should allow researchers to discern key differences amongst the devices and, in turn, possibly decipher further information from the mysterious instruments.
Fortunately for future civilizations attempting to understand our modern culture, they will likely only have to figure out how to unlock an iPhone to learn everything they want to know from our contemporary khipus.