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Subject: Undeciphered writing systems, Sun Yirang, Karl Richard Lepsius, Cuneiform, Khitan people
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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 deliberately written to be difficult to interpret.

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:

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

Famous decipherers:

See also

External links

  • Ancient Languages and Scripts
  • http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~fsaber1/language/MysteryCuneiform.html
  • How come we can't decipher the Indus script? (from The Straight Dope)
  • (PDF)The Cipherment of the Franks CasketAustin Simmons,
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