A village in western France is providing a €2,000 (£1,726) prize for assist in deciphering a 230-year-old inscription discovered on a rock on a distant seashore.
Till now no-one has been in a position to make out the which means of the 20 strains of writing, found a number of years in the past.
The metre-high slab is in a cove accessible solely at low tide close to the Brittany village of Plougastel.
Among the many regular French letters some are reversed or upside-down. There are additionally some Scandinavian-style Ø letters.
Two years are seen – 1786 and 1787 – relationship the inscription to a couple years earlier than the French Revolution. There’s additionally the picture of a ship with sails and rudder, and a sacred coronary heart – a coronary heart surmounted by a cross.
However the writing has defied all makes an attempt at interpretation by native lecturers. Some suppose it could be in outdated Breton or Basque, and that the one that wrote it could solely have been semi-literate.
The letters could relate to the sounds of phrases as she or he heard them.
In a single part the letters learn: “ROC AR B … DRE AR GRIO SE EVELOH AR VIRIONES BAOAVEL”.
One other reads: “OBBIIE: BRISBVILAR … FROIK … AL”.
One principle is that the inscription is linked to the constructing of naval defences close to this level. A fort and gun emplacements – whose stays can nonetheless be seen – had been erected right here within the 1780s to guard the Bay of Brest. Till 1783 France and England had been at battle.
“We have requested historians and archaeologists from round right here, however no-one has been in a position to work out the story behind the rock,” says Dominique Cap, Mayor of Plougastel.
“So we thought perhaps on the market on the earth there are individuals who’ve received the type of skilled data that we want. Reasonably than keep in ignorance, we mentioned let’s launch a contest.”
The general public attraction for assist known as “The Champollion Thriller at Plougastel-Daoulas” – honouring Jean-François Champollion, the linguist who deciphered the Rosetta Stone’s historic Egyptian hieroglyphics within the 19th Century.
Linguistic and archaeological fanatics are requested to register on the mayor’s administration, then they are going to be despatched images of the inscription. Tons of of individuals have already expressed curiosity.
When entries shut in November, a panel will select essentially the most believable interpretation of the thriller.
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