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Template:Redirect Decipherment is the analysis of documents written in ancient languages, where the language is unknown, or knowledge of the language has been lost.

It is closely related to cryptanalysis — the difference being that the original document was not deliberately written to be difficult to decipher.

The term has also been used to describe the analysis of the genetic code information encoded in DNA - see the Human Genome Project article for more on this.

Some people have also used the word metaphorically to mean something like 'understanding'.

Examples of successful script decipherment:

  • Cuneiform script
  • Egyptian hieroglyphs
  • Kharoshthi script
  • Linear B
  • Maya script
  • Tangut script

Famous documents that have been the subject of decipherments, successful or failed:

  • the Behistun Inscription
  • the Dresden Codex
  • the Edicts of Ashoka
  • the Phaistos Disc
  • the Rohonc Codex
  • the Rosetta Stone
  • the Voynich Manuscript
  • the Franks Casket

Famous decipherers:

  • Jean-François Champollion
  • Georg Friedrich Grotefend
  • Yuri Knorozov
  • Michael Ventris and John Chadwick
  • Magnus Celsius
  • Edward Hincks
  • Vilhelm Thomsen
  • Dhul-Nun al-Misri
  • Ibn Wahshiyya

See also[]

  • Decipherment of rongorongo
  • Indus script
  • Combinatorial method (linguistics)

External links[]

de:Entschlüsselung et:Dešifreerimine es:Desciframiento fr:Décrypter ja:解読 pt:Decifração ru:Дешифровка tr:Şifre kırma