France will pay 2,000 euros to solve a cipher on an ancient stone

Several years ago, residents of the village of Plugastel-Daulas in northwestern France found a huge artifact on the beach. Or the result of a joke several centuries old. A boulder was washed out of the sand, on which letters carved into the stone were found. And since until now no one has been able to put them into words, a competition has been announced to unravel this cipher.

Local authorities believe that the inscriptions were made quite recently, (by historical standards) - in the 18th century. This is indicated, in particular, by the numbers 1786 and 1787 on the stone, which are interpreted as the years of the creation of the drawing. This is quite logical, because just at that time there was a siege of Fort Corbeau nearby, which was covered by French artillery. Perhaps the message was left by one of the attackers or defenders of the fortress.

On the other hand, the question is - why would someone in the sufficiently enlightened 18th century engage in stone carving, and not in a sculpture workshop, but hammer a boulder on a deserted beach? The option that the stone could have been made and brought here, no one even considers, so much it has "grown" into the surrounding relief. Therefore, one of the promising versions is someone's joke.

The letters that were recognized on the stone refer to the Latin alphabet and look something like this: "ROC AR B ... DRE AR GRIO IS EVELOH AR VIRIONES BAOAVEL ... RI OBBIIE: BRISBVILAR ... FROIK ... AL". The solving competition was specially made open so that anyone could try their luck, because the attempts of professional cryptographers have not yet led to anything. The main prize is 2, 000 euros, applications must be submitted by November 30, 2019.