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Jean-Francois Champollion. Portrait of Jean- Francois Champollion (1790-1832), the French archaeologist and linguist who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics. By the age of 16 Champollion had mastered six oriental languages and by 19 was a professor of history at the Lycee of Grenoble. During 1822-24 Champollion deciphered hieroglyphic writing, which is comprised of symbolic pictures, by comparing the Egyptian and Greek texts inscribed on the Rosetta stone. Champollion's work formed the basis of modern archaeology.
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