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Seeking Sophie Challenge: Distance Edition

Can you solve a ‘history mystery’ by pitting your wits against a gang of vile villains?! Anyone with a PC, Mac or mobile device & internet connection may try their hand – it’s free to enter, as individuals, or as a team.

Through this series of brain-teasers, travel into the past and explore the historic environment around us today, from the safety of your home. Contestants can compete against-the-clock to win a virtual trophy if solving the puzzles before July; or take part in this armchair adventure at your own pace.

The mission is to help set free fettered friends, & put an end to the evil endeavours of a notorious band of rogues. But this is no typical heroine-rescue fantasy – for fearless females play leading roles in this story! 

Participants aid the ‘good guys’ in their escape by accomplishing several tasks, ascertaining the whereabouts of an heiress in dangerous company, & discovering the secrets of a stolen hoard & buried body. Try-out your skills of deduction by ‘decoding’ documents (some in Georgian Derbyshire dialect!); interpreting witness testimony; following a getaway vehicle by musing over old maps; & using archaeological investigative techniques in ‘forensic’ analysis. Georgian lady antiquary Mrs. Leach – and a brave ensemble of associates, will help participants on their quest.

Evidence needed to solve the case is contained within an activity pack (free to download), comprising facsimile letters, notes, maps, case briefs and other material (through which the story unfolds, and which contain clues to solve the mystery) sent between allies, set during a fortnight in the early 1800s. Complete the challenges to reveal a code to the online vault containing the solutions.


The 2020 updated edition of the Seeking Sophie Challenge is now available on the Antiquarian Academy blog.

Individuals and groups taking part might like to share photos taken during participation on the ‘Antiquarian Academy’ Facebook PageTwitter, and Blog, and on the Material Pasts website