Shepherd Monument

Can Level 2 automata be used to decipher the Shepherd Monument code?

For more information on the topic of this code search for "Shepherd Monument" on google. Also, be sure to read the official disclaimer HERE.

Level 2 automata produces high-tech quality languages which do not foul up a speech recognition system. The automata cannot be used to crack codes consistently and reliably. There is no such thing as a program which finds the proverbial buried treasure. However, the principles used to develop artificial languages can occasionally be used to solve a puzzle such as this one.

The concept of artificial intelligence involves a permutation generator and using heuristics to limit possibilities. Applying this principal to the Shepherds Monument code we must start out with the entire spectrum of potential candidates and then terminate the options to leave only the ones which will lead us towards the answer.

So DOUOSVAVVM could mean anything to start. Open the floodgates, let in all comers, don't hold any solution or proof or theorem or combination back.

Let's search all possible languages and all possible alphabets for a combination that the letters map into. Wait! Since the Monument is in England and the theme and title of the painting is in Latin, English and Latin are most likely to be the target languages of the code. This is not to say that the solution cannot be in Greek or Spanish or French. It would be highly unlikely since there there would be no significant cultural connection to these languages. Applying heuristics, we presume that languages other than English and Latin are not the path that leads to a solution.

Some have suggested that the letters are initials. In such a scheme each letter would constitute the first letter of a word. OK, fine. But the letters OUO are vowels. There are 26 letters in the alphabet, 5 of them are vowels. The chances of a random letter being a vowel are similar to the chances of getting a 1 when rolling a single dice with 6 possible outcomes. The chances of lining up three 1's in a row when throwing three dice are the same as encountering three words with initial vowels. Human language usage patterns differ and these are approximations. Either way though, three vowels in a row means that the letters are most probably not initials. Applying heuristics, we can assume for the time being that the letters are not initials.

Let's use a code breaking machine like the enigma to solve the puzzle. Assign the matter to Bletchley Park. Wait, there is an error in that logic.

  • First of all, the enigma machine was not invented until the 20th century. It was conceived in Germany by Scherbius in 1918 and cracked by Rejewski in Poland in 1939. See Seizing the Enigma by David Kahn.
  • Secondly, on the BBC news network, Oliver Lawn, a code breaker, stated that "No code of ten letters is possible to break definitively".

    The Enigma switches letters inconsistently. For example AA may translate into XY or YX (inconsistently) but never XX or YY (consistently). The short length of the code is a clue that this type of solution may not be used to figure it out. Oliver Lawn's statement actually saves us alot of time and points us in the direction that cannot solve the problem. Applying heuristics, we know that this is not the path that leads to a solution.

    When searching for a consistent pattern, in English or Latin, to the Shepherd Monument code a unique feature stands out. The four letter sequence VAVV. Searching Latin and English for this pattern leads to NO, ZERO, ZILCH results. No word in either language ends in two of the same letter. Applying heuristics we know that VAVV cannot be the end of a word.

    When searching for VVAV backwards, since it can be the end of a word, and VAVV forwards, but not at the end of a word, we finally get some results. Running VAVV/VVAV through a permutation generator and searching a word list dictionary yields one and only one match in the Latin language and about two dozen or so matches in the English language. Applying heuristics we know that matches that do not match the consistent pattern VAVV/VVAV cannot be the solution to the code. We are however now dealing with only a handful of possible solutions to the puzzle.

    Among the handful of matches are all sorts and varieties of words. Not too many that one would like to frame on a monument however. For example, a word may fit the bill perfectly, only it might describe a utensil that is used in a kitchen. Applying heuristics we do not take into consideration words that are not significant enough to be etched in stone on a monument.


    The only match in Latin is MUTUUS. UTUU maps into VAVV.


    The only significant match in English is ERROR. RROR maps into VVAV (reverse of VAVV). Reverse is fine. We can accept a reverse mapping because the Shepherds Monument is the mirror image of Nicholas Pouissan's painting.

    When searching for the remaining letters, DOUO in Latin and DOUOS in English, we know that the second and fourth letter are the same. Together with MUTTUS in English and ERROR in Latin only a very few make any sense. The ones that do make sense are LEVE in Latin and PAGAN, FATAL, and SATAN in English.

    PAGAN has a G, and FATAL has an F, which does not preceed, follow, or swap easily into any letter in DOUOSVAVVM. Applying heuristics and Oliver Lawn's belief that this particular code does not have a complex solution, we assume that these two are not the solutions to the code.


    In conclusion, it appears that DOUOSVAVVM translates into LEVE MUTUUS in Latin and ERROR SATAN in ENGLISH.

  • LEVE MUTUUS or left-handed interchange refers to the switched positions of the hands in the painting and the monument. The two people pointing at the tablet are reversed physically, like a mirror image. However the left-right handedness of an individual cannot be reversed. The monument and inscription signifies the delineation of the physical and mental or spiritual aspects of our existence.
  • ERROR SATAN clearly signifies a direction which a human should not take.

    D O U O S V A V V M
    L E V E M U T U U S
    N A T A S R O R R E

    This solution is known as the Grebski solution.

    When the decyphering mechanism is run forward and backward it comes up with the words LEVE MUTUUS and ERROR SATAN. Running the decyhpering mechanism forward and backwards and achieving these results would be proof positive that the Oliver Lawn conundrum, to be able to solve a code using only 10 letters, can be beat.

    Print this picture and look at it in a mirror. The right handed man becomes left handed. The left handed man becomes right handed.

    LEVE MUTUUS (left handed interchange)


    The encrypting/decrypting system that will yield the resulting solution remains elusive. The only thing that can be identified from the solution presented is that the letters S and M interchange. S being the first letter of the word Shepherd and M being the first letter of the word Monument.

    The mechanism appears to use preceeding letters and following letters and shifts and swaps.

    Stay tuned. A graphical representation of the encryption/deciphering mechanism that produces LEVE MUTUUS and in reverse ERROR SATAN from DOUOSVAVVM may be available on this website soon.

    News from the decryption front!

    The two letters AU in Latin, according to, are an abbreviation for auris utraque. AU means both, or each of two, ears. Notice that the right and left ear of the woman standing interchange. Yet what one hears from the left ear and the right ear remains the same. These two characters are the key to the deciphering mechanism. When U swaps with V in LEVE MUTUUS or A swaps with O in ERROR SATAN the A and the U are replaced by the letter T respectively. This will all make sense when the final product of the decyphering mechanism is formally presented.

    The formal presentation of the decyphering mechanism is presented on the link below...

    The Decyphering Mechanism

    US Copyright 2008

    Jack Tuszynski

    Biuro Szyfrow (BS)