Following recent requests, the British Museum predictably has come up with a long list of reasons why they believe the Rosetta Stone is better of in their institution than it would be in Egypt. With each new raft of reasons though it begins to look more & more as though they are grabbing at straws, desperately trying to preserve the status quo whilst ignoring the fact that the world has changed significantly in the last two hundred years since many of their artefacts were acquired.
The Rosetta Stone can be shared where it is
Despite Egypt’s overtures, the British Museum is the artefact’s natural home, suggests Roy Clare.
Published: 6:24AM GMT 10 Dec 2009
It’s a staple question at dinner parties or job interviews: if your house or office was burning down, what’s the one thing you would save? For the staff of the British Museum, the question might seem almost impossible to answer, given the wonderful riches contained in its collection. Yet if you pressed them, they would probably have to admit that the answer would be simple: the Rosetta Stone.
Discovered in Egypt by the French during Napoleon’s expedition, and acquired by the British as part of a peace settlement, the Rosetta Stone is a priceless and extraordinary item. The three languages displayed on it, translations of the same text, enabled us to make the first interpretations of Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is no surprise, then, that each year, millions of visitors to London seek out this exceptional artefact (and the thousands of others) in the galleries that present the world’s cultures in the British Museum.
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