The Rosetta Stone

Two hundred years ago, nobody knew how to read hieroglyphs. Even Egyptians had forgotten the meaning of those strange symbols written and chiselled by their ancestors.

A French man called Jean-Francois Champollion was the first to crack the code of hieroglyphs. The key was the Rosetta Stone, which contained the same message written in three different languages, including hieroglyphs. Jean-Francois used the language he did know (Greek) to decipher the one he didn’t (hieroglyphs).

The Rosetta Stone found in Rashid, Egypt, was part of a bigger stone

The top part of the Rosetta stone was Egyptian hieroglyphs.
The middle part was Demotic (another Egyptian script)
The bottom part (above) was ancient Greek
Champollion worked out that the easiest bits to translate would be the names.
Names were written inside a special protective loop called a ‘cartouche’.

Experts inspecting the Rosetta Stone in 1874 at the British Museum

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