These are questions submitted by visitors to Omniglot. I post
them here because I don't know the solutions. Please copy me in
on your suggestions/solutions so that I know when puzzles have been
solved (feedback[at]omniglot[dot]com), or you can add your comments below.
Michael S. Sanders sent in the image below. He believes it to be
an archaic form of Samaritan. Can you identify and/or decipher it?
If you can help, please contact Michael at:
According to TJ, the inscription is in Samaritan and the plate is
made of copper. Steve N. is sure the script is the Aramaic/Proto-Hebrew alphabet.
Inscription from a standing stone
The inscription below comes from a standing stone in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
If you have any suggestions what script it is and/or what it means, please contact
Robbie T. Pict at:
According to TJ, the writing looks like a combination of Hebrew and/or Greek,
though more like Hebrew.
According to Steven, the symbols are a combination of cursive Hebrew
and Anglo-Saxon/Norse runes. The location of the stone (Scotland and the
clearly Hebrew cursive letters on the stone and the swastika symbol all
support this). The Hebrew letters do not appear to represent the Hebrew
Writing on knife
The writing on this knife is in the Arabic script. Do you know what
language it's in, what it says, or can you provide any other information
about the origins of the knife? Please send your suggestions to Janet Creamer at:
Here's a photo of the knife on which the inscription appears.
According to TJ, the inscription appears to be in Malay.
Aizuddin, Malaysia writes:
The shape of the knife maybe from Southeast Asia, but I dont think the writing
on the knife is Malay. The Malay version of Arabic script is quite different,
and even I can read it, I'm quite sure it is not a Malay words.
Transliteration: i?i(w/’)(ka/g)y ni amaniming g/ka (ka/g)ni inani ingdi(?)s
Unknown writing on paper from diary
A friend of Peter Coan found several pages written in an unknown language
stuck in an old (1850s) diary she recently bought. If you can identify the
writing system and/or the language, please contact Peter at:
According to TJ, the writing is in a cursive form of Devanagari.
According to Christopher Miller this script is very clearly a version of Kaithi,
though in a rather unusual angular hand. It has the split ‹l› shape (a bit like a
C followed closely by a 7) typical of Gujarati and some Kaithi varieties, but not
yet merged into a theta shape as in other Kaithi varieties. The ‹h› is not an 'S'
shape with a disconnected downstroke on the left, as in Gujarati, but a instead is
fully connected, typical for Kaithi. It has the typical Kaithi ‹w› with an underdot
(here a circle) to distinguish it from the otherwise identical ‹b› letter, whereas
in Gujarati script the two letters have quite distinct shapes. And the most diagnostic
giveaway feature is the shape of the ‹r›, which in Kaithi looks like '7' rather than
the Gujarati '2' shape.
If you can decipher the writing below, which appears on a tray bought in
Turkey about 40 years ago, please contact Bill Steltzer at
This looks like an old version of the Cyrillic alphabet to me, and the language
might possibly be some form of Church Slavonic.
According to Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kempgen of the University of Bamberg,
the inscription might be Greek, in which case it could read:
CIMELH (L and H are written as a ligature I) / SIMELI
HS TOU GARAT / IS TOU GARAT
ATEGMEPAPA / ATEGMELAPA
MTEGMEE TOU E 1788
The last letter in line two is not clear. Also, in the third
line, one character could be a capital P or a capital L.
Pavel Petrov is sure that the language is Slavic and has
provided the following possible version of the text:
симеёт-и-с-оут-и а-рать-а-те-име-папа-м те имеюте 1789
Some (men) plough, but those (who are) called popes own. 1789
Mysterious writing from California
This text was found by someone in California. If you have any suggestions
about what writing system or language this is, please write to:
Suggestions (from Rudi Cheb): the script is very likely some kind
of Chinese writing or maybe Nüshu.
Manuscript written in an unknown script
The photos below were sent in by Mark Muehlhaeusler who came across
this manuscript while cataloguing Oriental manuscripts at Utah University
Library. Nothing is known of the provenance of the manuscript, but since
it is housed with a collection that was acquired in Egypt, it is likely
that the item hails from there (note the scarab and the 'cartouches').
The writing looks like some variety of Amharic or Ge'ez, according to Evans Knight.
TJ suggests that the writing is either in the Egyptian Demotic script or the
Meroitic Demotic script. The cartouches and some of the symbols indicate this.
Does anybody have and ideas about the symbols on this metal fish?
If you do, please contact Aaron Wobrock at:
Stephan Glöckner thinks the symbols might be in the Vai script.
Can anybody help Patrick Bushell identify these characters that appear
on date a bronze crotal bell? If you can help, please write to
According to Toulouse Ng, "The characters are read from right to left.
The first character is like "叁 sān", which is the complex form
of writing the number "3" in Chinese. For the next character, I've never
seen it before. It somehow looks like a combination of characters "皿
mǐn" (vessel) and "兴 xìng" (happy). The word doesn't
even exist in my dictionary.
Can anybody decipher the symbols on the left of this postcard?
If you can, please contact Pat at: email@example.com
According to Dolly Hayde, most, if not all, the symbols on the postcard
appear to hobo signs.
Ken Dillon sent in these examples of an early form of shorthand
dating from about 1850. If you can decipher them, please write to
Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pierre Lombardini, who works in a bookshop, found the following note in
one of his books. He thinks it is some kind of shorthand. Can anybody
identify and/or decipher it? If you can, please write to:
According to Armen Mahseredjian, the stone is a prayer for blessings because of the use of the words God and bless in the text, and the cross at the top in Armenian is called a Khach kar.
Can anyone decipher the writing on this bracelet? If you can,
please contact Angela Brown at email@example.com.
Evans Knight suggests that the inscription doesn't actually say anything at all.
It seems that it was just arbitrarily designed to simulate the Arabic script.
Aizuddin believes that the writing might be لا إله إلا الله
(Lailahailallah) which means "There is no God but Allah".
Jacob McLanth thinks that the writing might be a copy of an Avestan (Old Persian)
inscription, with some possible Devanagari and Tibetan elements. Alternatively
it might be a version of the Manichaean alphabet.
Can anyone identify the characters in this inscription? They appear to be
in some form of Chinese Seal Script. Please send your suggestions to Scott
Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Carl Mashthay, the characters on the right are 兄正文肉
(xiōng zhēng wén ròu) = 'older brother upright/regulate writing flesh'.
The ones on the left are possibly 千 (父/又) (夕/月) 子
(qiān, fù/yòu, xì/yuè, zì) = 'thousand (father/also)
(evening/moon/month) child' - the two in the middle are unclear.
'An (upright) older brother can regulate whatever is written and whatever is alive.'
'Thousands of fathers can spend their evenings with their children.'
Mystery writing on envelope and letter
Can anybody decipher this writing which appears on an envelope and
letter sent in by Cynthia (email@example.com)?
This inscriptions comes from an outcrop of rocks near the
Great Circle Earthworks built by the Hopewell Indians in Ohio.
The writing system looks like Cherokee. Can anybody decipher it?
If you can, please contact Brandon Long at
Evans Knight is sure that the inscription isn't Cherokee.
Can anybody decipher the writing on this sword? The alphabet is Burmese.
Please send your solutions to: Charles Sirico at:
According to Christopher Miller this script might be Kaithi.
Can anybody decipher the inscription on this glass coin? Please
send your suggestions to
The script might be an Old Italic alphabet -
Oscan, Faliscan or South Picene maybe.
Jason Massia suggests that the symbols might by zodiac signs.
Inscription on bone
The inscription on this bone sent in by Jeff Carroll
like Hebrew to me. Can anybody work out what it says?
According to Steven, the script and language are definitly Hebrew.
The first word says eh-kef which means pressure or urgency.
One possible reading of the inscription is "אכפ צא בדמך"
(ehkef tza b'damcha) which could be translated as "Urgent; go out in your blood",
though this is not certain due to the lack of clarity of some of the letters. A Hebrew speaker
would not need or use vowel points except in maintaining the pronunciation of the biblical
text and this leads him to believe that this is a fake.
Writing on pillar
Can anyone decipher the writing below? It looks like Japanese to me,
but I can't make out what it says. If you have any ideas, please write
to Royce Lee at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This image was sent in by Pamela (email@example.com), who
has provided the following background information about it:
This symbol belongs to the Aquarian Order. It is called the "Triangle of Light" or the "Seal
of the Agharta". The founder and Master Serge Raynaud de la Ferrière, must have received
it from an Aghartian messenger, when he was initiated both in India and Tibet, around 1950, but
he died in 1962 and left nothing written about it
In one of his books he mentions Saint Germain, who mentions a triangular altar: Athanor. Saint
Germain studied the Zohar, the Torah and all the saintly scriptures. He was also influenced by
the Zoroastrian tradition, where "Atar" is the symbolic aspect of Fire, just like in the Hindu
treatise Atharva-Veda. In this last book, the Seal of God has a sun on it and is called
Possible solution, suggested by Nikhil Sinha
The writing inside the triangle might be भानु
(bhanu) which means sun, as does 'sûrya' in the name 'Sûryachandra-masâbhya'. Nikhil
is unsure which script the writing is in.
According to TJ, the writing looks more like "Chuurya" (sun) in Tamil.
This photo was sent in by Brigid Roche
believes that her father found the stone during his travels in
Persia. Can anyone decipher the inscription? If you can please
write to Brigid.
The same image flipped over.
Suggestions (from Tom Howard): the character look like they are in
a form of Seal Script. The one on the left looks like zi3 (child),
one of the other character might be kong3, which combined with the zi
Suggestions (from Rudi Cheb): The middle character looks like the
Chinese "chu1" (to exist, to happen, to occur etc.) the other characters
could be some other script such as Nestorian, Ancient Uighur, Soghdian etc.
It was not uncommon for Nestorian Christians in Turkestan to use several
scripts in their holy scriptures.
According to Michael DePaula the first character most resembles "shan1"
which means "mountain", however the little markings between the three prongs
lead him to believe that they are shorthand for other characters that would
have appeared there had there been enough space to write small enough. If correct,
this would open up the possibility for the characters "bin1" (the name of a state
during the Zhou Dynasty [1500BC - 500BC]), and "you1" (which means deep/secluded).
Finally, if the character exceeds the top edge of the block, it would appear to be
similar to "han2" which means a letter/envelope.
The middle character appears to be chu1, (which means to go/come out of, or exceed).
However, he sees what appears to be smaller markings up top as well, making him
believe that this is the same, but older version of chu1.
The final character is a mystery since he's never seen an old form of "cheng2",
which means "to bear, to hold/carry" or "to undertake".
Some possible interpretations:
函出承 (hán, chū, chéng) - a receptacle for outgoing letters (a stone marking above a mail pickup spot?)
豳出承 (bīn, chū, chéng) - The coming Bin-state
山出承 (shān, chū, chéng) - Succeeded in coming off/out of the moutains.
Can anybody identify the symbols on this sword? If you can, please write to: