The stone was discovered by French archaeologists in 1799 but went to the British Empire in 1801 as spoils of war after they ejected Napoleon from Egypt. It’s one of the most important of ancient Egyptian artifacts because it has the same text written in hieroglyphs, demotic (another Egyptian script), and ancient Greek. Until its discovery nobody could read ancient Egyptian, but Greek had never been forgotten. The key to unlock one of the world’s greatest civilizations had been found.
The Rosetta Stone is one of the treasures of the British Museum, but Dr. Hawass has been leading a fight to get it back. Now he’s said he’ll stop if the British Museum loans the stone to Egypt for a few months.
If it did make it back to Egypt, it would probably be displayed in Cairo’s newly revamped National Museum, a jaw-dropping collection of ancient treasures.
The Brits might want to take him up on this. Dr. Hawass has been a tireless crusader and has already gotten the Metropolitan Museum of Art to return a stolen artifact and had a similar victory with the Louvre. He’s shown he won’t give up until Egypt’s heritage is back home.