palaeography
Definition -
(1) Ancient writing.
(2) The study of ancient writing and inscriptions.

Notes:
1. A piece of ancient writing is called a palæograph.
2. Someone who studies it is called a palæographer.

Example -
The deciphering of the Rosetta stone.

Etymology -
The term, which means "old writing" in Latin, derives from the title of a book by Montfaucon, Palæographia Græca (1708), one of the field's foundational texts.

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation for sense (1) is from 1822:
"Dr. Young…whose acuteness and learning seem calculated to subdue the difficulties of Palæography."
(Q. Rev. XXVI. 195)

Its first citation in sense (2) is from 1818.



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