Discover the mystery of the Rosetta Stone

London, Greater London

Visit the British Museum for free and see the famous Rosetta Stone. Dating back to ancient Egypt, the stone was key in the deciphering of hieroglyphs.

The Rosetta Stone, which dates back to 196 BC, was found near the Egyptian village of el-Rashid (or Rosetta) in 1799 by Napoleon's army. Today the stone, part of a larger slab, lies in Room 4 at the British Museum.

Peer closely and you'll see the inscription carved on its surface in three different scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek), which was vital in helping experts decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs – knowledge of which had been lost.

The message on the stone is a decree affirming the support of priests from a temple in Memphis, Egypt, for King Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation. It would have been one of a series of stone copies made to put in every temple in Egypt.

The Rosetta Stone is just one of many truly exceptional objects on display at the British Museum. Other highlights include the ancient Greek Parthenon sculptures, the Mummy of Katebet and the huge Easter Island statue.

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The Rosetta Stone at the British MuseumThe Rosetta Stone at the British Museum © London & Partners

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