Menagerie (part 4)

The map (image posted by Archimagus)

This is the map unearthed at the Three Shires Stones monument. It was made of parchment and was sealed inside a wax tablet stowed inside a box. The “N” on the top means North, and the “X” below the rectangle marks the spot where the treasure is buried. Along the outer circle there are 36 unique symbols. Some of these symbols are also used in other places inside the circle. The decoded message “OUR MAP LIE BENEATH THE MARK WROTE IN STONES” also has 36 letters. The process is then straightforward: substitute the nth-letter for the nth-symbol, starting at the “O” shaped symbol to the right of the flower shape below North. Once every symbol gets a letter, we can decode every other message. Here is the result:

Decoded map

The first obvious messages is “SALES BUREE PLANN”, which can be easily interpreted as Salisbury Plain. The author had explained from the beginning that the treasure was buried within 50 Km from the map. The code did not have a Y, so EE was used instead. The E in Sales and the last N in Plann could be mistakes. In the circle, the symbol before “E” is “I”, and the symbol before “N” is “I”, so they could be “off by one” errors. The BR, E, and ER refer to village names of Bratton, Edington and Erlestoke. These places lie roughly in a West to East line to the North of Salisbury Plain.

Bratton, Edignton and Erlestoke, with the treasure location marked (source: Google Earth)

Archimagus theorized that to reach the X spot he would need to climb a hill (RISE) and find a bench (REST). The treasure would be buried behind the bench. The arrow pointing to RISE was right below E (Edington), and considering other directions and hints he decided the correct place to be Edington Hill, Wiltshire.

The treasure location is 21 Km southeast of the map location (source: Google Earth)

Before risking a trip to an uncertain place, Archi tried to get some confirmation from Dillon, but none was provided. He and his friend Martin made the trip to Edington on July 18, 2008, exactly three years after the hunt had officially started. After searching around the place, they finally spotted a bench with these inscription:

“This Hills are my Cathedral” (image posted by Archimagus)

It was the final confirmation he needed. In picture 4, released a few weeks before, there was a cathedral sitting on the top of a hill!

Cathedral on a hill from picture 4

Behind the bench, one feet below the ground they found it.

The cask containing the jewel (image posted by Archimagus)

Menagerie was an extraordinary treasure hunt, very well planned and carefully executed. The community on Quest4Treasure was amazing. I had a great time participating in the discussions, even when everyone was stuck and the only thing to read were the craziest of the theories.

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