20 July 2010, JellyBean @ 1:00 pm

Scientists have used a computer program to decipher a written language that is more than three thousand years old.

The program automatically translated the ancient written language of Ugaritic within just a few hours.

Scientists hope the breakthrough could help them decipher the few ancient languages that they have been unable to translate so far.

Ugaritic was last used around 1200 B.C. in western Syria and consists of dots on clay tablets. It was first discovered in 1920 but was not deciphered until 1932.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the program that the language was related to another known language, in this case Hebrew.

The system is then able to make assumptions about the way different words are formed and whether they consist of a prefix and a suffix, for example.

FIVE OF THE WORLD’S UNDECIPHERED SCRIPTS

Etruscan – repeated attempts to decipher this language have led little further than the numbers one to six.

The Rohonc Codex – Discovered in Hungary, it contains 10 times more symbols than any other known alphabet

Rongorongo – discovered on Easter Island, scientist are not even sure if it is language

Linear A – An ancient Minoan script from Crete from around 1900-1800 BC

Vinca symbols - Believed to be the earliest ‘proto-language’ known to man, these symbols were found in Hungary in 1875. They date from around 4000 BC

Read more: Daily Mail

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