A € 2,000 ($ 650,000) reward was offered by a village in the west of France to help decipher a 230-year-old stone engraved inscription.
The 20-line writing was discovered a few years ago at Plougastel in Brittany, engraved in a cliff, but so far no one has realized what it means.
In writing, some French letters are inverted or stacked in stone. The text also includes Scandinavian type O-letters. There are two dates on the inscription: 1786 and 1787, which resulted in a few years before the outbreak of the French Revolution. There was also a drawing of a ship on the stone, with a sail and mast, and a holy heart marked with a cross.
Local scientists did not come forward with the text. Some say it may be an old Breton or Basque writing, and it has also been said that anyone who has taken it was half-illiterate. The letters tried to describe the sounds of the words as they heard them.
A piece of text reads: “ROC AR B. DRE AR GRIO SE EVELOH WITH VIRIONES BAOAVEL”. Another line is “OBBIIE: BRISBVILAR … FROIK. AL” – BBC News reported.
According to one theory, the inscription can deal with the development of marine protection. In the 1780s, a fortress was built in the area to protect the Brest Bay, the remains of which are still visible. Until 1783, France and England were in war.
Dominique Cap, Mayor of Plougastel, said that the historians and archaeologists they asked could not decipher the inscription. That’s why they thought maybe an expert from around the world could help. “Instead of giving up, we are calling for competition,” he said.
The “Champollion Mystery in Plougastel-Daoulas”, named after Jean-Francois Champollion, the Egyptian hieroglyphic writer, must be registered with the local mayor’s office. Candidates will receive photographs of the subtitles. Hundreds of people have already come to the challenge.
Decisions are expected until November, then a jury will choose the best solution.