Ciphers

Ingeborg Hornkjøl poses with a piece of wood inscribed with Nordic runes. 

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Discover—and Start to Decode—Rare Medieval Runes

One of the newly unearthed objects, an inscribed bone, is the first of its kind found in Oslo in decades

The bold, brilliant Mary Wroth with a string instrument called a theorbo, circa 1620.

The Secret Codes of Lady Wroth, the First Female English Novelist

The Renaissance noblewoman is little known today, but in her time she was a notorious celebrity

A team of divers found this rusted—but still recognizable—Enigma cipher machine at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The Nazis used the device to encode secret military messages during WWII.

Cool Finds

Divers Discover Nazi Enigma Machine Thrown Into the Baltic Sea During WWII

German forces used the device—likely cast into the water to avoid falling into Allied hands—to encode military messages

How to Cipher Like a Soviet

See if you can figure out how the American code-breakers unraveled the complexities of the Russian codebook

In the spring of 2018, Angeline Nanni revisited Arlington Hall, where the Venona team got cracking. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Secrets of American History

The Women Code Breakers Who Unmasked Soviet Spies

At the height of the Cold War, America’s most secretive counterespionage effort set out to crack unbreakable ciphers

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