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Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code and the Uncovering of a Lost Civilisation

Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code and the Uncovering of a Lost Civilisation

Paperback

By (author) Margalit Fox

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 234mm x 27mm | 505g
  • Publication date: 11 July 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1781251320
  • ISBN 13: 9781781251324
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations (black and white), maps (black and white)
  • Sales rank: 134,823

Product description

The decoding of Linear B is one of the world's greatest stories: from the discovery of a cache of ancient tablets recording a lost prehistoric language to the dramatic solution of the riddle nearly seventy years later, it exerts a mesmerizing pull on the imagination. But, captivating as it is, this story is missing a crucial piece. Two men have dominated Linear B in popular history: Arthur Evans, the intrepid Victorian archaeologist who unearthed Linear B at Knossos and Michael Ventris, the dashing young amateur who produced a solution. But there was a third figure: Alice Kober, without whose painstaking work, recorded on pieces of paper clipped from hymn-sheets and magazines and stored in cigarette boxes in her Brooklyn loft, Linear B might still remain a mystery. Drawing on Kober's own papers - only made available recently - Margalit Fox provides the final piece of the enigma, and along the way reveals how you decipher a language when you know neither its grammar nor its alphabet as well as the stories behind other ancient languages, like the dancing-man Rongorongo of Easter Island.

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Author information

Margalit Fox is a journalist, writing for the New York Times. Originally trained as a linguist, her previous book Talking Hands was about the remarkable 'signing village' of Al-Sayyid where only sign language is used. Previously an editor at The New York Times Book Review, Margalit has written numerous articles on language, culture and ideas for The Times, New York Newsday, Variety and other publications.

Review quote

"As with any good detective story, there's a driving narrative behind the puzzle, peopled by solitary sleuths."--The Guardian US