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Deciphering Ancient Languages    NEW!

Two ancient languages were deciphered in the last half of the twentieth century.  The first was Linear B, which was first found in 1900 on clay tablets during the excavation of the magnificent palace of King Minos at Knossos on the island of Crete.  It resisted all the efforts of experts until it yielded its surprising answer in 1953 to a flash of genius by a British architect, Michael Ventris.  The second is the decipherment of the inscriptions written with the intricate, ornate Mayan glyphs, which were found in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and in Guatemala.  In contrast to Linear B, it yielded gradually to the decades long cumulative effort of many scholars, and its decipherment completely changed our understanding of the Mayan civilization.  This class tells these two very different, but equally interesting, stories of decipherment.

 

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