The Rosetta Stone is arguably the most important Egyptian artefact ever discovered. Carved into its surface is the Memphis Decree of 196 BCE, the final line of which, it was read in the Greek text, declared that this decree was to be inscribed upon a stone in three different scripts: hieroglyphs, demotic (or ‘popular’) Egyptian, and Greek. This single line told scholars that by comparing the other two scripts to the Greek, which they could read, they would be able to decipher the esoteric hieroglyphs of Egypt, a skill which had been lost for nearly 2000 years. Egypt’s ancient history could at last be told.
The Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799, but hieroglyphs were not decoded until 1822. It is an object which first united a disparate people through language, and its discovery further united the finest minds of eighteenth and nineteenth-century science, without regard to national borders. Today it stands in the British Museum in London. Egypt would like it returned to its native land. This site was created to examine how this might be made possible.
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