Fascinating account on the BBC News site of the quest to crack proto-Elamite, the oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets. Dr Dahl, from the Oriental Studies Faculty at Oxford University makes the telling comment that the reason why the text has proven so hard to fathom is that it contains many mistakes, making it extremely tricky for anyone trying to find consistent patterns. This he puts down to a loss of scholarship, "The lack of a scholarly tradition meant that a lot of mistakes were made and the writing system may eventually have become useless." A possible lesson of history here is that language academies as guardians of the language, such as the Académie française for French, which are largely dismissed by commentators of the English language as an irrelevance may have in fact a more important role to play for posterity in maintaining the comprehensibility of the language in a way that can be understood by future generations, if not the present one.