Listen to part of a lecture in the history class, the professor has been discussing Egypt hieroglyphs.
Egyptian hieroglyphs are the ancient Egyptian writings, found in ancient Egyptian on walls, monuments and on the inside and outside of the temples.
Hieroglyphic writing ended abruptly about 1600 years ago, and it mystified the most brilliant minds in the study of the Egyptian artifacts and archeology for many many centuries.
Finally, the possibility of deciphering hieroglyphs came about with the discovery in 1799 of the Rosetta stone.
The Rosetta stone is arguably the most famous archeology artifact ever discovered.
It contains the same exact text written in three different alphabets: Greek, demotic and hieroglyphic.
But we didn't even know at first that the three texts on the Rosetta stone contain the same information.
And two of the three alphabets are ancient Egyptian scripts that stop being used, the hieroglyphic and the demotic.
The demotic script found on the Rosetta stone, um …well, demotic was not as elaborate as the hieroglyphic writing.
It was used for more mundane matters or like administrative documents.
These ancient Egyptian scripts were replaced by Coptic script, but eventually the Arabic language replaced the Coptic, and this cut off the linguistic link between ancient and modern Egypt.
Now the Rosetta stone was remarkable, because as I said, on it was the same text in three different alphabets: Greek, demotic and hieroglyphic.
The stone was essentially the dictionary that the scholars needed to interpret the meaning of hieroglyphs, and it took a uniquely equipped researcher to finally decipher and understand what was written on the stone.
Thomas Yang, an English scholar, was the first to seriously attempt to decipher the symbols on the Rosetta stone.
He suspected rightly, that the hieroglyphs were phonetic symbols that they represented sounds rather than pictures.
Until then, all scholars assumed that the hieroglyphs were pictographs, that they symbolize objects or concepts.
Thomas Yang focused his attention on one set of hieroglyphs that he thought would probably spell out a single word, the name of a King or Queen.