Crack This Code and Win $15K!

If you like puzzles and have a knack for linguistics and deciphering characters, we might have the perfect side gig for you! Right now the Chinese government is willing to pay handsomely for anyone who can crack even a single symbol of these ancient carvings, which are called “oracle bones.”

The specimens are about 3,000 years old, and they are some of the earliest examples of humans trying to divine the future using fire (a practice known as pyromancy). They date from the Shang dynasty, and were thought to be able to tell many different things about the future, ranging from what the weather would be like to personal fortunes and even the success of military ventures. The technique included cleaning the bones of flesh, sanding them down, annointing them with blood and then engraving them. The diviner (the person reading the bones, who was often the Shang king), would then toss them into the fire and wait for the heat to crack the bones. They would then be fished out, and the diviner would interpret the cracks.

Archaeologists have collected some 200,000 oracle bones, but many more have been lost to time or “alternative” medicines. Because of their mystical appearance, oracle bones have been ground to a powder to be used as a cure for malaria, among other things. And though scientists have been hard at work trying to decipher the symbols on the remaining bones, they’ve only identified about 40% of the 5,000 recorded characters. That’s where you come in! The National Museum of Chinese Writing is offering a $15,000 reward for the correct interpretation of a single character, since one translation can often lead to a waterfall of others! Find the information HERE: