The square and arrow symbol in the manuscript Sean and Isabel found under Hagia Sophia in The Istanbul Puzzle returns in The Jerusalem Puzzle.
In The Jerusalem Puzzle the symbol is discovered in the Museum of Antiquities in central Cairo near Tahrir Square. This is the museum where King Tutankhamun’s famous golden mask is on display. The remains of many famous Pharaohs are housed there, as well as items from their tombs, along with a huge papyrus and coin collection on the ground floor.
Sean goes to the museum after seeing a picture of a papyrus fragment in a guide to the museum. Here is the fragment:
My interest in the square and arrow symbol was inspired by this fragment. The caption on the card beneath the fragment reads, according to my notes:
Papyrus fragment found 1984 in rubbish pit near the Black Pyramid (built King Amenemhat III, Middle Kingdom era, 2055-1650 BC), by the Austrian Institute of Cairo. The lower hieroglyph represents the Queen of Darkness. The upper hieroglyph has not been deciphered. The only other example of these hieroglyphs is from a stone inscription at the Gihon Pool in Jerusalem, a Canaanite province of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom era.
The symbol reappears later in The Jerusalem Puzzle when it is used as a marker and also near the end when its purpose is further alluded too.
The Jerusalem Puzzle provides strong clues as to what this symbol means. And there is still a prize of £100 available to anyone who breaks the code contained in the symbol.
Some other possible meanings since I created this original post on what the symbol means, include that it was used as a mnemonic or that it was an old Mandarin symbol for the sun found in the Zhongyuan Yinyun. The character has been simplified in modern Mandarin to 日 (rì) meaning day; sun; date; or day of the month according to that theory.
I don’t know if any of that will help you win the £100 prize! But it just might.
Good luck! And remember – no purchase is necessary to solve this puzzle.
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What is The Istanbul Puzzle?
The Istanbul Puzzle is a thriller/mystery novel, first published January 19, 2012. It's the first in a series of novels featuring Sean Ryan and Isabel Sharp, being published by Harper Collins and a series of other publishers around the world. The Istanbul Puzzle starts when Sean discovers a friend and colleague has been beheaded in Istanbul.
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