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Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt / Hieroglyphs /
Rosetta Stone



Rosetta Stone on exhibit in British Museum, London, UK.
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The actual Rosetta Stone on exhibit in British Museum, London, UK.

Simplified and enhanced copy.
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Detail from the Rosetta stone
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Stone from 196 BCE, found at Rosetta in northern Egypt in 1799 by French engineers. It became decisive in deciphering hieroglyphs, as it contained the same text in three translations: hieroglyphic; demotic (another form of Egyptian writing); and classical Greek. Demotic was known then, and Greek very well-known by scholars.
The scientist finding the key to hieroglyphic structures became French Jean-François Champollion, publishing his finds in 1822. He identified hieroglyphs step by step comparing with demotic, but also leaning on the Greek text. From bits he expanded into a creating a restructured alphabet for the hieroglyphs.
The content on the stone is a royal decree, published by Ptolemy 5, dealing with matters of taxation and instructions to build statues and temples.
The stone, made from basalt, is 1.14 metre high, 72 cm wide and as deep as 28 cm. It is on public display in British Museum, it transferred from French to British hands during warfare between them in 1801.




By Tore Kjeilen