Omnilingual is a science fiction novella written by H. Beam Piper, originally published in 1957.
This novella is unusual in focussing on the problem of archaeology on an alien culture. How is is possible to decipher writings of an alien race that died out 50,000 years ago? What could we possibly have in common with them?
An expedition to Mars discovers the remains of an advanced civilization, which died out many thousands of years ago. They recovered books and documents left behind, and are puzzled by their contents. Would the team find their “Rosetta Stone” that would allow them to unlock the Martian language, and learn the secrets of this long-dead race? That is the struggle of the protagonist and against all odds she does indeed find a way for our two cultures to meet. An excellent story well written.
Henry Beam Piper (1904-1964) was an American science fiction author. He wrote many short stories and several novels. He is best known for his extensive Terro-Human Future History series of stories and a shorter series of "Paratime" alternate history tales. Piper's stories fall into two camps: stark space opera, such as Space Viking, or stories of cultural conflict or misunderstanding, such as Little Fuzzy or the Paratime stories.