National Museum of Chinese Calligraphy announced on Thursday the launch of a reward program that encourages people from all around the world to decipher the inscriptions on oracle bones, reports Xinhua.
The oracle bones were discovered in the Yin Ruins in central Henan province 110 years ago.
According to the representatives of the museum in Anyang city, the reward worth 100,000 yuan (14,700 US dollars) for each deciphered character.
The inscriptions on tortoise shells and animal bones are written with original characters from an ancient written Chinese. These inscriptions originate from the Shang Dynasty era (1600-1046 BC).
These Chinese characters represent the oldest written system in the world. After studying the 160,000 relics full of inscriptions the archaeologists discovered nearly 4,000 characters, but only 1,600 of them have been deciphered.
The inscriptions from the oracle bones were first discovered in 1899 by academician and antiquarian Wang Yirong in Beijing, although a group of Anyang farmers unearthed artifacts way before the professor.
Wang was the one who noticed the unusual symbols printed on the shells and animal bones that looked like an ancient writing system.
According to the announcement made by the museum, the process of deciphering the characters entered in a period of ‘strangulation’ ‘and needs a dose of excitement and innovation to understand the hidden meanings.
The deciphering program proposed by the institution requires the applicants a hand written report accompanied by a series of recommendations of at least two academic experts.