Philology, the study of ancient texts and languages, was one of the 19th century's first scientific approaches to human phenomena and was the foundation of modern linguistics. Philology's interest in ancient languages led to the study of what were in the 19th century "exotic" languages for the light they could cast on problems in old texts.
One branch of philologists concentrate the process of decipherment of ancient writing systems .
- Jean-Francois Champollion published his decipherment of the Rosetta Stone in the 1822.
- Michael Ventris deciphered Linear B in the 1950s and confirmed that the Mycenaean language was early Greek.
- Mayan hieroglyphics is an ongoing process at the turn of the 21st century.
- Work continues on Minoan Linear A and Etruscan.