How do we know so much about the ancient world? This episode explores four astonishing archaeological discoveries that extended our knowledge of history back into the mythical past:

1) The discovery of the Rosetta stone and Champollion's sensational decipherment of the text.
2) A German highschool teacher makes a breakthrough into reading the cuneiform writing system of ancient Mesopotamia.
3) Heinrich Schliemann digs for Troy.
4) Michael Ventris deciphers linear B - the script of the Mycenaeans.


10 Discoveries that Rewrote History, by Patrick Hunt (check out his interview about the Rosetta Stone on the Entitled Opinions podcast)

The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris, by Andrew Robinson

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack and Ancient Code, by Margalit Fox

“What Was Greek to Them?” by Mary Beard (book review of the above)

Portrait of Champollion, the decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Giant replica of the Rosetta Stone in Champollion's hometown of Figeac.
Sample from the monumental, eighteen-volume ''Description De L' Egypte'' published in France after Napoleon's scientific expedition in Egypt.
Greek postage stamp featuring Heinrich Schliemann and the lion gate of Mycenae, where Schliemann had excavated.
Sophia Schliemann wearing the ''treasure of Helen'' found at Troy
Michael Ventris inspecting a Linear B tablet.