The Rosetta stone is listed as “a stone of black granite, bearing three inscriptions…found at Rosetta”, in a contemporary catalogue of the artifacts discovered by the French expedition and surrendered to British troops in 1801. At some period after its arrival in London, the inscriptions on the stone were colored in white chalk to make them more legible and the remaining surface was covered with a layer of carnauba wax designed to protect the Rosetta Stone from visitors fingers.(Parkison,Diffieand Simpson 23)This gave a dark color to the stone that led to its mistaken identification as a black basalt (British Museum 113-114)These additions were removed when the stone was cleaned in 1999 revealing the original dark gray tint of the rock, the sparkle of its crystalline structure, and a pink vein running across the top left corner. (Miller 128-132)Comparisons with the Kelmm collection of Egyptian rock samples showed a close resemblance to rock from a small granodiorite quarry at Gebel Tingar on the west bank of the Nile, West of Elephantine in the region of Aswan; the pink vein is typical of grandiorite from this region(Middleton and Klemm 207-208)
The Rosetta Stone is now 114-4 centimeters(45in)high at its highest point,72.3cm(28.5in)wide,and 27.9cm(11in)thick.it weighs approximately 760 kilograms (1,7000ib).(The British Museum) It bears three inscriptions the top register in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the second in the Egyptian demotic script, and the third in Ancient Greek (Ray3)The font surface is polished and the inscriptions lightly incised on it; the sides of the stone are smoothed, but the back is only roughly worked, presumably because this would have not been visible when it was erected.(Middleton and Klemm 207-208; Parkison,Diffie and Simpson23.) Bibliography
Bierbrier,M.L. “The acquisition by the British Museum of antiquities discovered during the French invasion of Egypt.” Studies in...
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