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The Rosetta Stone - Professor Richard Parkinson

spirit warrior of the mist man
Published on 01 Apr 2023 / In Science

The history of the Rosetta Stone:

The Rosetta Stone is perhaps the most important archaeological find of all time; it was thanks to it that we understand the language of the hieroglyphs and came to comprehend the ancient Egyptian civilization that lay beyond them.

When the stone was discovered by mistake by Napoleonic forces in 1799, its importance was obvious; with the same text translated into three languages, it offered the chance at last to understand Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. But the cracking of the code was not at all straightforward and it took some of the greatest minds of Europe years before the most widely-anticipated code-breaking of all time was achieved.

Professor Richard Parkinson tells the story of Thomas Young, Jean-Francois Champollion and the other great Egyptologists behind the unlocking of the Stone’s secrets, while also offering us an insight into the story of the Stone itself, from the questionable artifact-handling of the Victorian era through to its place today at the centre of the British Museum and of the world’s consciousness.

The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:

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