Egyptian Government Wants Ancient Artifact Returned From “Colonial” Europe

Academics Call for Rosetta Stone's Return to Egypt

Academics Call for Rosetta Stone’s Return to Egypt

( – In 1799, as Napoleon was quickly swallowing up territory in Europe and beyond, his soldiers found a large stone with writing on it weighing over 1,600 pounds. They sent it to Cairo for examination, where researchers discovered it held the same text in three different languages, which eventually helped researchers interpret ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The Rosetta Stone, named after the town it was found in, ended up in British hands in 1801 and was shipped to the British Museum. But now, Egypt wants it back.

Despite decades of attempts from the Egyptian government to recover the infamous stone, campaigners this year are holding out hope that the British Museum in London will actually return it to its historical home. Experts believe that using ethical arguments will be the success factor.

On the petition’s website, the advocates write that the Rosetta stone was taken as “an act of transgression on culture property and cultural identity, and a direct result of a long history of colonial violence.” While it emphasized the past cannot be changed, it did ask England to admit it was unlawful and to return the Egyptian artifact.

While it has been over 200 years since the massive stone was in Egypt, September 27 marked the 200-year anniversary of linguist Jean-Francois Champollion decoding the hieroglyphs. Advocates are using this rekindled interest as momentum to bring about the stone’s return.

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