Many call it the greatest archaeological find ever, many say we would know nothing about ancient Egypt without it. What am I talking about you might ask? I am talking about The Rosetta Stone. The stone was found in 1799 by a group of French soldiers on the the Egyptian coast in an old military fort. The town name was Rosetta (ironically). The group was led by Lieutenant Pierre Bouchard who had invaded Egypt for part of France’s war against Great Britain. When they came across it it was small and in bad shape. They would probably need to knock it down and rebuild it. So, they set to work, but it was a lot different working in the hot Egyptian sun than in France.
The sun was blinding and the breezes were dusty and filled with sand. The Egyptian sun was beating down so hard that it forced the soldiers to drink gallons and gallons of water – some water they should not have drunk. Many of the soldiers soon suffered from diarrhea and/or fell from sunstroke. Still their lieutenant pushed them onward. They knocked down one of the walls and they were about to pick it up and all of the rock was tan except for one slab that was about 4 feet long (it was gray).
One of the soldiers picked up the slab wipe it off and reported his findings to his leader.To make sure people could understand what they were writing the Egyptians used three different scripts in two different languages including Egyptian and Greek. The first script was hieroglyphics which were only used in the important and or religious documents. The second and more common writing system of Egypt was demotic writing form.
The third and final writing on the stone was greek which was the language that the Egyptian rulers used at that time. Another reason that they had three different writings was because there were three writing systems being used at the time it was written.The Rosetta Stone told us a lot about ancient Egypt. It was written by some priests in ancient Egypt in order to honor an ancient pharaoh (who we do not know the name of) and they wrote down all his accomplishments. In order to decipher the first hieroglyphics it took a whole team of people and several years, but a man named Jean-Francois Champollion finally deciphered hieroglyphics in 1822. He deciphered hieroglyphics like this, he could read both Greek and coptic. He figured out what seven demotic signs were in coptic. By looking at these signs in coptic he worked out what they stood for.
Then he started to trace the demotic signs back to hieroglyphicshireglyphics. By knowing what some of the hieroglyphics stood for, he was able to figure out what the other hieroglyphics stood for. The Egyptians believed it was important to record a lot of different stuff, such as religion and government. They created lots of written scripts so everyone could understand what they were writing down.
Of course, the most famous script in ancient Egypt was hieroglyphics, but over a course of three thousand years of ancient Egyptian civilization, there were at least three other writing systems that had been created.