Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone


Can you see the three separate blocks of text?

The same text is inscribed three times on the stone.

Scholars first compared the Greek and Demotic, then the Hieroglyphic.  This allowed them to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The actual text is pretty boring: “a decree passed by a council of priests, one of a series that affirm the royal cult of the 13 year-old Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation”. Here’s the full translation


Found in 1799, by French soldiers at Fort St Julien, near El-Rashid (or Rosetta in French), Nile Delta, Egypt

I’m not sure if this map is the exact find spot – the only Fort St Julien I found is in north-eastern France. But I think we’re in the right neighbourhood: Rosetta (or rather Rosette) is the French name for El-Rashid. And where the Nile divides the two main distributaries they are called the Damietta and the Rosetta.

Currently displayed in Room 4, Ground Floor, British Museum


Created in 196 BC
Acquired by the British Museum in 1869


Length: 112.3 cm (max)
Width: 75.7 cm
Thickness: 28.4 cm

More information

British Museum Highlights page (includes translated text and BSL video)
British Museum Collections Online page

Label text



3D print


Image credit

Top image: © Trustees of the British Museum

Let us know if you spot any clangers.

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