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Top Uncracked Codes
« on: March 30, 2010, 11:23:46 PM »
Until quite recent history, thewriting of the Ancient Egyptians was a secret to man. Eventually, withthe help of the Rosetta stone, Jean-François Champollion was able tosolve the ancient mystery. Since that time, there have been many otherattempts to decipher ancient languages, or to crack codes that havebeen made for fun or fortune. This is a list of the ten most famousciphers and writing systems that are still unsolved.


The Phaistos Disk





The disc of Phaistos is the mostimportant example of hieroglyphic inscription from Crete and wasdiscovered in 1903 in a small room near the depositories of the“archive chamber”, in the north – east apartments of the palace,together with a Linear A tablet and pottery dated to the beginning ofthe Neo-palatial period (1700- 1600 B.C.). Both surfaces of this claydisc are covered with hieroglyphs arranged in a spiral zone, impressedon the clay when it was damp. The signs make up groups divided fromeach other by vertical lines, and each of these groups should representa word. Forty five different types of signs have been distinguished, ofwhich a few can be identified with the hieroglyphs in use in the Proto-palatial period. Some hieroglyphic sequences recur like refrains,suggesting a religious hymn, and Pernier regards the content of thetext as ritual. Others have suggested that the text is a list ofsoldiers, and lately it has suggested to be a document in the Hitticlanguage in which a king discusses the *****ion of the Palace ofPhaistos.

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Re: Top Uncracked Codes
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 11:24:06 PM »
                  Voynich Manuscript





At least 400 years old, this is a232-page illuminated manuscript entirely written in a secret script. Itis filled with copious drawings of unidentified plants, herbal recipesof some sort, astrological diagrams, and many small human figures instrange plumbing-like contraptions. The script is unlike anything elsein existence, but is written in a confident style, seemingly by someonewho was very comfortable with it. In 2004 there were some compellingarguments which described a technique that would seemingly prove thatthe manuscript was a hoax, but to date, none of the describedtechniques have been able to replicate a single section of theManuscript, so speculations continue. Over its recorded existence, theVoynich manuscript has been the object of intense study by manyprofessional and amateur cryptographers, including some top Americanand British codebreakers of World War II fame (all of whom failed todecipher a single word). This string of failures has turned the Voynichmanuscript into a famous subject of historical cryptology.      

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Re: Top Uncracked Codes
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 11:24:23 PM »
                  
Linear A





Linear A is one of two linear scriptsused in ancient Crete (a third script is Cretan Hieroglyphs). They werediscovered and named by Arthur Evans. Linear B was deciphered in 1952by Michael Ventris and was used to write Mycenaean Greek. Linear A isfar from being totally deciphered but it is partially understood and itmay be read through Linear B values. Though the two scripts share manyof the same symbols, using the syllables associated with Linear B inLinear A writings produces words that are unrelated to any knownlanguage. This language has been dubbed Minoan or Eteocretan, andcorresponds to a period in Cretan history prior to a series ofinvasions by Mycenean Greeks around 1450 BC. It is believed that theremay be some connection between Linear A and The Phaistos Disk.
      

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Re: Top Uncracked Codes
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 11:25:25 PM »
                  
Beale Ciphers





In 1885, a small pamphlet waspublished in Virginia containing a story and three encrypted messages.According to the pamphlet, around 1820 a man named Beale buried twowagons-full of treasure at a secret location in Bedford County,Virginia. He then left a small locked box with a local innkeeper, andleft town, never to be seen again. The pamphlet went on to state thatthe innkeeper, after having not heard from Beale for many years, openedthe box and discovered encrypted messages. Never able to read them, heeventually passed them along to a young friend shortly before theinnkeeper’s death in 1863. According to the pamphlet, the friend spentthe next 20 years trying to decrypt the messages, solving only onewhich detailed the tons of gold, silver and jewels that were buried,along with a general location. The still unsolved messages supposedlygive exact directions, and a list of who the treasure belongs to. Therehave been many exhaustive searches for the treasure, and much effortspent on decoding the other messages, without (confirmed) success.There are many claimed solutions, usually bannered in combination witha book that someone is trying to sell, but no one has ever been able toproduce a duplicatable decryption method.
      

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Re: Top Uncracked Codes
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 11:30:24 PM »
                  
The Dorabella Cipher





Probably Elgar’s most popular work ishis ‘Enigma’ Variations which, apart from its undoubted musical merit,still tantalises the musical detectives with the hidden ’secrets’ whichElgar cleverly wove into the fabric of the score. But Elgar, who wasfascinated by codes, ciphers, riddles and other forms of puzzles, hasleft us another mystery – the ‘Dorabella’ cipher (pictured above). Onehundred and ten years ago – to be precise, on the 14 July 1897 – Elgarsent a letter to a young friend, Miss Dora Penny, the 22 year-olddaughter of the Rev. Alfred Penny, Rector of St Peter’s, Wolverhampton.The unusual feature of the letter was that it was in a cipher which, acentury later, still presents a challenge. There have been a couple ofattempts at solving it but neither of these seem entirely satisfactory.