Georg Friedrich Grotefend was born on June 9, 1775 as the son of a shoemaker in Münden (today: Hann. Münden). He studied philology and theology in Göttingen and worked there as an assistant teacher.
In 1802, as a result of a bet, he deciphered the first words of a cuneiform script. The following year he became prorector of a high school in Frankfurt am Main, and in 1821 he came to Hanover as director of the Lyceum, where he died on December 15, 1853.
His main work is the "New Contributions to the Explanation of Persepolitan Cuneiform" published in 1837.