DECRYPT – Decryption of historical manuscripts


Project duration: 2019 - 2024 Date coverage: 1301 - 1945 Website Contact

Thousands of enciphered historical manuscripts are buried in libraries and archives. Examples of such material are diplomatic correspondence and intelligence reports, private letters and diaries as well as manuscripts related to secret societies, or other (religious) groups in the margins of society. The bulk of these historical manuscripts will remain undeciphered unless we can automate the processes involved in decoding them. Our aim is to develop resources and computer-aided tools for decoding of historical source material by using AI and cross-disciplinary research involving computational linguistics, cryptology, history, linguistics and philology.

Within the DECRYPT project, we release resources and tools with open access to facilitate research in historical cryptology, allowing collection, analysis and decryption of historical ciphertexts. Resources are collections of encrypted sources, a large collection of historical texts for 15 European languages and language models. The tools facilitate the processing of the encrypted sources from transcription to decryption incl. cryptanalysis.

Project partners

Other partners

  • Uppsala University, Sweden
  • University of Siegen, Germany
  • Budapesti Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem, Hungary
  • Universität der Bundeswehr München, Germany
  • University of Gothenburg, Sweden

With financial support by

Swedish Research Council, grant 2018-06074