Unlike other sciences, this one has documented inception and an actual father. The document that marked the start of Egyptology is believed to be “Letter to M. Dacier concerning the alphabet of the phonetic hieroglyphs,” written by the thirty-two-year-old Jean-François Champollion, who had not been to Egypt once by the way. A prodigy child who knew multiple living and dead languages, he had been working to decipher the Rosetta Stone discovered by Napoleon’s sappers since he became of age. The kings – Ptolemy, Cleopatra and Xerxes – came to his aid. Champollion believed that the recurring symbols in the stone writings were kings’ names. The royal idea worked.
The text carved on the Rosetta Stone turned out to be a thank you note from Egyptian priests who thanked Ptolemy V in 196 B.C.