French village offers reward to solve rock inscription



A village in France is offering a 2,000 euros ($2,246) prize to help decipher a 230-year-old inscription found on a rock on a remote beach.

Until now no one has been able to make out the meaning of the 20 lines of writing, discovered on a metre-high slab in a cove accessible only at low tide near the Brittany village of Plougastel, the BBC reported on Friday.

Among the normal French letters some are reversed or upside-down. There are also some Scandinavian-style letters.

Two years are visible - 1786 and 1787 - dating the inscription to a few years before the French Revolution. 

There is also the image of a ship with sails and rudder, and a sacred heart - a heart surmounted by a cross.

But the writing has defied all attempts at interpretation by local academics. Some think it may be in old Breton or Basque, and that the person who wrote it may only have been semi-literate.

The letters may relate to the sounds of words as he or she heard them.

"We've asked historians and archaeologists from around here, but no-one has been able to work out the story behind the rock," the BBC quoted Dominique Cap, Mayor of Plougastel, as saying.

"So we thought maybe out there in the world there are people who've got the kind of expert knowledge that we need. Rather than stay in ignorance, we said let's launch a competition." IANS