Rosetta Stone

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Illustration

by Trustees of the British Museum
published on 02 January 2014

The Rosetta Stone is an incomplete grey and pink granodiorite stela dating from 196 BCE which presents a priestly decree concerning King Ptolemy V of Egypt. The text is in three different versions: Hieroglyphic, Demotic and Greek. The stone was discovered at Port Saint Julien, el-Rashid (Rosetta) on the Nile Delta in Egypt in 1799 CE by Pierre Francois Xavier Bouchard. Thomas Young first identified some of the hieroglyphs related to Ptolemy V but the full text was deciphered by Jean-Fran├žois Champollion in the early 1820s CE and so the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphs, lost for 1600 years, was finally re-discovered. (British Museum, London)

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