British Museum

Often called Cyprus’s Rosetta Stone, this 16-inch-wide marble slab contains a bilingual inscription in Cypro-syllabic (bottom) and Phoenician (top) scripts. Found at Idalion by Robert Lang, and dating to the early fourth century B.C., the stone records a dedication to the god of the sanctuary by the Phoenician prince Baalröm. Usually written from right to left, the Cypro-syllabic script consists of 50 to 60 signs, each denoting a syllable. This script was used to write both Phoenician and Greek, as well as the indigenous Eteo-Cypriot language, which has not yet been deciphered. Scholars believe the Cypro-syllabic script derives from scripts developed on Crete: either Linear A, an undeciphered hieroglyphic script used to record the Minoan language, or Linear B, a script derived from Linear A and used to write Mycenaean Greek.