Long thought to be artistic images of hunters and animals, the engravings on the famous Iron Age Pictish Stones are now believed to be the written language of the Pictish people, an ancient language recognized by the Venerable Bede.
Experts from the School of Biosciences at the University of Exeter used a mathematical theory called Shannon entropy to "study the order, direction, randomness and other characteristics of each engraving." The results were compared to the same characteristics of other written languages, and Pictish was declared a language.
From the article:
Paul Bouissac, a University of Toronto professor who is one of the world's leading experts on signs and symbols, told Discovery News that he agrees "it is more than plausible that the Pictish symbols are examples of a script, in the sense that they encoded some information, which also had a spoken form." What is known about a writing system, however, "does not amount to deciphering this putative script," Bouissac added.