The Copiale cipher is an 105-page coded document found in an East German archive, and dated to 1866 - but the code used to shield its mysteries has remained unbroken, until now.

The international team that cracked the cipher this year found that automated translation techniques - familiar to most of us from the often-wonky Google Translate - can help to crack encrypted documents by 'guessing' their contents. It works even when they use a cipher as baffling as the Copiale's 90 symbols, and the original language is unknown.

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