Modern reconstruction of the original
apperance of the Rosetta Stone


The inscription on the Rosetta Stone, fully conserved and redisplayed for this exhibition,
is a decree for King Ptolemy V Epiphanes dating from March 196 BC. It is repeated in hieroglyphs, demotic and Greek. By using the Greek section as a 'key' scholars realised that hieroglyphs were not symbols, but that they represented a language. Although Thomas Young (AD 1773-1829) did ground-breaking work on deciphering hieroglyphs, it was Jean-François Champollion (AD 1790-1832), who realised in 1822 that they represented a language which was the ancestor of Coptic, the known language of medieval Christian Egypt.