The translation by the Halifax professor was:
"Forty Feet below two million pounds are buried";
This translation makes a lot of sense. It turns out to be a simple substitution cipher where each unique symbol corresponds to a unique letter in the alphabet. The key to deciphering the inscription is:
Key to Translation
using this key, the words on the stone become evident:
The translation for the given inscription works and seems very unlikely to be a simple coincidence. The way I see it, there are two possibilities.
First possibility: The inscription recorded by the professor was a hoax used to encourage further investment in the search. This is certainly a possibility and could only be disproved by the re-discovery of the original stone or possibly the discovery of a new one. If this inscription is a hoax, the crossed out F in forty is certainly a very nice touch.
Second possibility: The professor made an accurate recording of the original stone. If this is true, we gain several pieces of information about the builders
since feet are used in measurement we can track down who would and wouldn't use them the translation is in English - unless builders were being very clever (they certainly had this trait), they were probably from an English speaking country the stone was found at 90 feet which means the treasure would be at 130 feet (Note: in 1866 the Money Pit had already collapsed 15 feet, but the cement vault between 150 and 160 feet had not been drilled yet. The putty above the vault started at 130 feet.)
We can now apply the inscription key to the stone fragment found at Smith's Cove:
Note that there are two possible translations for each line because we have no indication of which side should be considered the top of the stone. This is also true of the larger stone. It is possible the when flipped upside down that there is another plausible translation.
Unfortunately there is probably not enough of this stone to provide much information.
What do you think?
Do you have a different translation or opinion about what these inscriptions might mean?
Send your ideas to:OakIslandInscriptions@activemind.com