The Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone:

The 1.12m (3ft 6in) high Rosetta Stone in the British Museum is originally from Egypt and is made out of granodiorite stele, which is a coarse-grained rock.

It is a broken part of a bigger slab with text carved on to it that has helped researchers learn how to read Egyptian hieroglyphs – a form of writing that used pictures as signs.

It features three columns of the same inscription in three languages: Greek, hieroglyphs and demotic Egyptian – and is the text of a decree written by priests in 196 BC, during the reign of pharaoh Ptolemy V.

It is unclear how the stone was discovered in July 1799, but there’s a general belief that it was found by soldiers fighting with the French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte as they were building an extension to a fort near the town of Rashid – also known as Rosetta – in the Nile Delta.

When Napoleon was defeated, the British took possession of the stone under the terms of the Treaty of Alexandria in 1801.

It was then transported to England, arriving in Portsmouth in February 1802. George III offered it to the British Museum a few months later.

#RosettaStone

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