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Mysterious rock inscription from Brittany is a description of a tragic death at sea

A mysterious set of engravings on a rock face in France has finally been revealed as a description of a tragic death at sea.

The inscription on rock in Plougastel-Daoulas, northwestern France, refers to a dying sailor, Serge, more than 230 years ago.

A competition to translate the engravings, which dates back to around 230 years, was launched by the local authorities in May.

Now the inscription, marked with dates 1786 and 1787, has finally been deciphered thanks to competition.

Two winning teams divided the prize money of € 2,000 (£ 1,684) for partially deciphering the code with French and Scandinavian letters.

The Frenchmen Noel Rene Toudic (left) and Robert Saligot (right) pose at the rock in Plougastel-Daaoulas, France on February 24, 2020

The Frenchmen Noel Rene Toudic (left) and Robert Saligot (right) pose at the rock in Plougastel-Daaoulas, France on February 24, 2020

This photo taken on February 24, 2020 shows the inscription on a rock in Plougastel-Daoulas, western France

This photo taken on February 24, 2020 shows the inscription on a rock in Plougastel-Daoulas, western France

This photo taken on February 24, 2020 shows the inscription on a rock in Plougastel-Daoulas, western France

The mysterious inscription engraved on a rock in Plougastel-Daoulas (Finistere) almost 250 years ago could finally be deciphered thanks to competition

The mysterious inscription engraved on a rock in Plougastel-Daoulas (Finistere) almost 250 years ago could finally be deciphered thanks to competition

The mysterious inscription engraved on a rock in Plougastel-Daoulas (Finistere) almost 250 years ago could finally be deciphered thanks to competition

Parts of the inscription have been translated by the two teams – one as “Serge died when his boat was unable to row.”

This inscription was translated by English teacher Noël René Toudic, a Frenchman who believes that “Serge” was a soldier who was forced to row to the sea on a stormy day.

Toudic concluded that the inscription would have been engraved by another person in honor of the dying soldier, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The other part of the inscription, translated by historian Roger Faligot and artist Alain Robet, says: “He was the incarnation of courage and joy of life [zest for life].

“He was hit somewhere on the island and he’s dead.”

The rock on which the carvings are made is located in a secluded bay that is only accessible when the tide goes out, near Plougastel-Daoulas, in Brittany.

The rock, found about five years ago, stands at about 3 feet (1 meter) high and carries 20 lines of writing.

It is thought that part of the carving is: “ROC AR B … DRE AR GRIO SE EVELOH AR VIRIONES BAOAVEL”.

Another section is included as: “OBBIIE, BRISBVILAR … FROIK … AL”.

The competition to decipher the combination of letters and symbols was launched by the media from all over the world and was launched by the small town last May

The competition to decipher the combination of letters and symbols was launched by the media from all over the world and was launched by the small town last May

The competition to decipher the combination of letters and symbols was launched by the media from all over the world and was launched by the small town last May

The mysterious inscribed rock is located in a secluded bay near the municipality of Plougastel-Daoulas, in the Brittany administrative region in north-western France

The mysterious inscribed rock is located in a secluded bay near the municipality of Plougastel-Daoulas, in the Brittany administrative region in north-western France

The mysterious inscribed rock is located in a secluded bay near the municipality of Plougastel-Daoulas, in the Brittany administrative region in north-western France

Some of the characters carved into the rock are normal French letters depicted in reverse order or upside down, while others look like ‘Ø’ – a vowel in Scandinavian languages, including Danish and Norwegian.

The person who wrote the engraving, it has also been suggested, was perhaps only half-literate.

Therefore, the intended words may be poorly transcribed and the letters may be more related to the sound of the words as the author heard them.

The rock also has the image of a ship complete with sails and a rudder, and what looks like a heart covered by a cross.

The dates at the unusual markings – 1786 and 1787 – are just a few years before the start of the French Revolution in May 1789, suggesting that this event may be linked.

A boat engraved on the rock in Plougastel-Daoulas shows a few sails and a rudder. A date in the area marks the inscription as 1786 and 1787

A boat engraved on the rock in Plougastel-Daoulas shows a few sails and a rudder. A date in the area marks the inscription as 1786 and 1787

A boat engraved on the rock in Plougastel-Daoulas shows a few sails and a rudder. A date in the area marks the inscription as 1786 and 1787

Even local experts have been perplexed about the engravings since they were found about five years ago, which is why the town decided to bring them to the wider public in an effort to translate them.

“We have asked historians and archaeologists from here, but no one has been able to find out the story behind the rock,” said Mayor Plougastel, Dominique Cap last year.

“So we thought there might be people somewhere in the world with the knowledge we need.

“Instead of remaining ignorant, we said, let’s start a competition.”

The competition received thousands of entries, but only 61 were complete translations.

French city councilor charged with minor heritage Michel Paugam poses with the inscriptions last May

French city councilor charged with minor heritage Michel Paugam poses with the inscriptions last May

French city councilor charged with minor heritage Michel Paugam poses with the inscriptions last May

Most of the entries were from France, but others came from far away such as the US and Thailand.

The two winning theories were the most plausible translations and seemed to support each other’s interpretation.

The competition was called “The Champollion Mystery at Plougastel-Daoulas” – referring to the French scholar and hieroglyph expert Jean-François Champollion.

Mayor Cap said that there was still work to be done to fully solve the mystery of the inscriptions, but the winning entries of the competition marked “a big step forward.”

WHAT DOES THE PLOUGASTEL-DAOULAS INSCRIPTION SAY?

It is thought that part of the carving is: “ROC AR B … DRE AR GRIO SE EVELOH AR VIRIONES BAOAVEL”.

Another section can be: “OBBIIE: BRISBVILAR … FROIK … AL”.

Some of the characters carved into the rock are normal French letters depicted in reverse order or upside down.

Others seem to be ‘Ø’, which is a vowel in the Scandinavian languages ​​Danish, Norwegian, Faroe Islands and South Sami.

The rock has the image of a ship complete with sails and a rudder, and what appears to be a sacred heart – a heart covered by a cross.

Two visible data are also visible, 1786 and 1787.

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