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The Rosetta Stone is one of the most famous objects in the British Museum. It is a stone with a message carved into it that is written in three types of writing. This stone has become an important artifact, as it helped scholars understand hieroglyphs (an Egyptian writing system that used pictures to describe words).
See the fact file below for more information on the Rosetta Stone or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Rosetta Stone worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Napoleon Bonaparte settled in Egypt from 1798 to 1801, with the goal of dominating the East Mediterranean area and threatening the British.
- The Rosetta Stone was accidently found by his soldiers in July 1799. They discovered the Rosetta Stone while digging the foundations to build a fort near the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in the Nile Delta.
- The officer-in-charge at that time, Pierre-François Bouchard, realized the importance of the discovery. He passed on the Rosetta Stone to General Menou and Bonaparte.
- The Rosetta Stone became a part of French antiquities collections. After Napoleon’s defeat in 1801, the Rosetta Stone became the property of the British under the terms of Treaty of Alexandria.
- The stone was shipped to England and arrived in Portsmouth, where the stone was later stored in the British Museum in London.
THE STONE DESCRIPTION
- The Rosetta Stone is described as a stone of black granodiorite, a kind of a stone that is similar to granite. It measures about 44 inches tall and 30 inches wide. It weighs approximately 760 kilograms.
- There are three inscriptions written on the stone. The top lines were written in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the second in the Egyptian demotic script, and the third in Ancient Greek.
- The Stone was actually a fragment of a larger stele. However, in later searches around the Rosetta site, no additional fragments were found. The top part, which is composed of Egyptian hieroglyphs, has the most damage. Because of its damaged conditions, none of the three texts are complete.
The Stone Context
- The inscription on the Rosetta Stone is a decree issued by a council of priests who gathered in Memphis. It told about a celebration of 13-year-old King Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation in 196 BC.
- The decree existed during a turbulent period in Egyptian history. King Ptolemy V reigned from 204 to 181 BC. He had become the ruler at the age of five after the sudden death of both of his parents who were murdered.
The Fame of the Rosetta Stone
- Since June 1802, the Rosetta Stone has been exhibited almost continually. It was a part of a collection of Egyptian Antiquities, but was then transferred to a sculpture gallery in 1834 because the stone was too heavy for the floors in the Montagu House, which was the original building of the British Museum.
- The Rosetta Stone originally had no protective covering. It was formerly displayed on its back almost horizontally, and it was surrounded by a metal cradle to prevent visitors from touching it. Due to the rise of British Museum visitors, the stone has been displayed in a specially built case in the center of the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery since 2004.
- According to the museum’s records, the Rosetta Stone was the most visited single object in the museum. The Rosetta Stone postcard has also been one of the highest-selling merchandise items for several decades.
The Stone’s Influence in Egyptian History
- The Rosetta Stone is an important finding for Egyptian history. Because of the Rosetta Stone, historians and scholars have cracked the code to understanding the hieroglyphs by using the Greek inscription on this stone to decipher them.
- Thomas Young (1773 – 1829), an English physicist, was the first person to interpret the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone. He wrote a letter about hieroglyphs by using references in the stone. Scholars agreed that the meanings he suggested for the signs were mostly correct, but he was unable to analyze how the signs delivered their meaning.
- The French scholar, Jean-François Champollion, later discovered a way to understand Ancient Egyptian writing when he pieced together the hieroglyphs. Using the Rosetta Stone as its main reference, as well as other texts, he announced his discovery in a paper in September 1822.
- Champollion inscribed the hieroglyph and made a second crucial breakthrough, realizing that hieroglyphs work as alphabetic signs. From his guideline, he began reading hieroglyphic inscriptions fully.
Rosetta Stone Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Rosetta Stone across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Rosetta Stone worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Rosetta Stone which is one of the most famous objects in the British Museum. It is a stone with a message carved into it that is written in three types of writing. This stone has become an important artifact, as it helped scholars understand hieroglyphs (an Egyptian writing system that used pictures to describe words).
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Rosetta Stone Facts
- Rosetta Stone Summary
- Which One is Correct?
- The Stone’s Journey
- Egyptian Places
- The Museum Vault
- Guess the Language!
- The Egyptian Trip
- The Stone Reading
- Draw the Past
- The Oldest Language
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Link will appear as Rosetta Stone Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 1, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.