Pict symbolsResearchers at the University of Essex in England have unlocked the secrets of ancient symbols – using mathematics.

Through statistical analysis, they found that the symbols on Pictish inscriptions in stone were likely to represent a written language, according to this article.

The team devised a new method of analysing the symbols by comparing them to known texts from the history, and whilst they still do not know what the writing means, they suspect the stones are memorials for the dead. The Picts were a Scottish Iron Age society dating from the fourth to the ninth centuries AD.

The research could help unlock other scripts, and perhaps even animal communication.