Epigraphy, which means writing on something, refers to writing on an enduring substance like stone. As such, it was impressed, inscribed, or chiseled rather than written with the stylus or reed pen applied to ordinarily decaying media like paper and papyrus. Common topics of epigraphy include epitaphs, dedications, honors, laws, and magisterial registers.
The Rosetta Stone, which is housed in the British Museum, is a black, possibly basalt slab with three languages on it (Greek, demotic and hieroglyphs) each saying the same thing. Because the words are translated into the other languages, the Rosetta Stone provided a key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Oxyrhynchus is sometimes referred to as "waste paper city" because the town's dumps in the adjacent desert were filled with discarded ancient Egyptian paper (papyrus), mostly used for bureaucratic purposes (but also for literary and religious treasures) that had been preserved against rot by the surface, arid climate.
Also, for symbols used in transcription, see Tips on the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.
Stele is a sandstone slab inscribed with ancient writing in the North Picene language (a language from the east side of Italy north of Rome). There are also pictures which provide clues as to what the writing means. The Novilara Stele is of interest to historical linguists and ancient historians.
A 2.3 m high diorite or basalt stele of the Code of Hammurabi was found at Susa, Iran, in 1901. At the top is a bas relief image. The text of laws is written in cuneiform. This stele of the Code of Hammurabi is at the Louvre.
9. Maya Codices
There are 3 or 4 codices of the Maya from pre-colonial times. These are made of prepped bark, painted, and folded accordion-style. They have information about the mathematical calculations of the Maya and more. Three of the codices are named for the museums/libraries where they are stored. The fourth, which is a 20th century find, is named for the place in New York City where it was first displayed.