George Smith (1840 to 1876)
Banknote Engraver Turns to Cuneiform.
George Smith, English Assyriologist, was born in London. In early life he was a banknote engraver, but gained an increasing interest in Oriental languages and explorations. He made several expeditions to the site of ancient Ninevah. During the first two (1873, 1874), he unearthed over 3,000 cuneiform tablets, including portions of the ancient Deluge (Noah's Flood) story. His skill at deciphering the writing led to his co-authoring Sir Henry Rawlinson's third volume of Cuneiform Inscriptions.