reading the past Author:leonard cottrell The Young Decipherers — "If there is one common factor in all the sources of decipherment, setting aside for a moment the immense and laborious technical difficulties of the work, it is that of surprise ... Another common factor is the surprising youth of many of the great decipherers. Thomas Young had mastered twelve languages by the time he was... more » twenty. Champollion read his first scientific paper to the Grenoble Academy when he was fourteen, became professor of history at eighteen ... and Ventris ... began work on Linear B when he was fourteen and published his decipherment when he was thirty-four ... It would seem, therefore, that the most promising years of the would-be decipherer's life are his youthful ones, before his mental arteries harden, and while his mind is still flexible and agile enough to accept new ideas or discard old theories. There is still plenty of material to work on."