NKRYPT, located in Canberra Australia, is a set of eight sculptures that bear encrypted inscriptions. Today, I’m going to introduce one of these: the PVL cryptogram.

Readers who are interested in the famous Kryptos sculpture may also like NKRYPT, an art installation outside the Questacon Science and Technology Centre in Canberra, Australia.



NKRYPT was designed by Australian artist Stuart Kohlhagen and installed in March 2013. I’m sure Kohlhagen knew Kryptos and was inspired by it. I don’t know if he was also aware of the Cheltenham Listening Stones, a sculpture collection located in England that follows a similar concept.

Source: Glenn McIntosh

NKRYPT consists of eight stainless steel pillars, each covered with several encrypted messages. The following collage gives an overview:

Source: Glenn McIntosh

Like Kryptos, NKRYPT bears cryptograms created with different ciphers, representing different levels of difficulty. Some of the messages have been broken, about eight are unsolved to date.

NKRYPT is described on the Questacon website and on two fan pages. The latter one is operated by Glenn McIntosh.

Source: Glenn McIntosh

Glenn thankfully allowed me to use the photographs one his page.

Apparently, the eight NKRYPT pillars have no official names. For this reason, I have adapted Glenn’s naming on this blog. As can be seen on the following diagram, he has assigned each pillar a letter from A to H:

Source: Glenn McIntosh

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The PVL cryptogram

Let’s now look at one of the unsolved ciphertexts. The following photograph shows the upper part of pillar H (the other NKRYPT web-page calls it pillar 1):

Source: Glenn McIntosh

The cryptogram shown here consists of a ring of 26×10 characters, with the letters P, V, and L written in a larger font. Here’s the transcryption Glenn provides on his page:


The following diagram shows a frequency analysis I created with Cryptool 2:

Source: CrypTool

As can be seen, the frequency distribution is quite flat. This means that we are certainly not dealing with a simple substitution cipher. Perhaps, a Vigenère cipher or a running key cipher was used.

If you have an idea on how to decipher this message, let me know.

Further reading: $10,000 worth of crypto-currencies hidden in Lego artworks

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Kommentare (1)

  1. #1 BREAKER
    26. Januar 2021

    Rotate the block of text left 90 degrees and read it backwards….there is some stepping of the read so some of the letters are found on the lines below and above

    Sounds like the beginning of the block says “WAXIN YULE” “AN ALARM VIBES AND YOU WAKE”

    Looks like it’s using an Old English Box Cipher in a grid form, taking out pairs and then relaying them. The read on the top line layout for the next segment would be WAQZENLWW with the removed pair of U’s and so forth as they form a secondary message with the pairs and the rotation of the block is finished when there are no more pairs.