Academics Call for Return to Egypt of Rosetta Stone
British academics and archeologists are calling for the return to Egypt of the Rosetta Stone, which has resided in the British Museum since its translation 200 years ago. Some 2,500 archeologists and Egyptologists have signed an online petition that was first launched in Cairo, the Daily Mail reported. A decree issued in 196 BC and etched into the stone in three languages of the time – hieroglyphics, demotic (the Egyptian language of the time), and ancient Greek – helped academics to learn to decipher and translate the ancient languages. The stone was first discovered by Napoleon’s army in Northern Egypt in 1799 and was transferred to Britain after the signing of the Treaty of Alexandra in 1801. A British Museum spokesperson told Reuters that there had been no formal request from the Egyptian government for the return of the Rosetta Stone. The call to return the stone comes as more Western museums move to return artifacts that were removed from countries under colonial rule. It also comes as the British Museum is set to hold a special exhibition featuring the stone, “Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt,” beginning October 13.