A team of scientists is hoping online gamers can use their strategy skills to help piece together an ancient mystery.
After excavating more than 3,000 fragments of a Christian cross that was erected in a Scottish chapel, archaeologists were stumped by the meaning of the detailed symbols engraved in the cross. In order to hopefully get closer to uncovering the message hidden within the shards of the cross, the team came up with a clever plan.
They designed a 3-D puzzle using images of the cross fragments scanned and digitized using a hospital’s CT scanner, reports The Scotsman. The puzzle, the Pictish Puzzle, was named after the ancient Picts people. The Picts are known for resisting Roman influence in Britain and the cross was built to celebrate their conversion to Christianity.
Part of the Hilton of Cadboll Stone, the damaged pieces are mostly small enough to fit in a hand. The team is confident that having more eyes attempt to decipher the cross will speed up the process of learning about the stone.
"It is a task much larger than one person. If we can do this it will be a huge step forward in our understanding and could change what we know about this stone," Mhairi Maxwell of National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh told The Scotsman.
Launching on October 25, the Pictish Puzzle was designed by a Scottish technology firm. According to the company’s owner, Aegir Maciver, users will be able to “view and manipulate files” to assist in forming a more complete image of the cross.