Weird News: Egypt is preparing a new campaign for the restitution of the Rosette stone

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Des visiteurs prennent des photos de la pierre de Rosette au British Museum de Londres, le 23 juillet 2022. © Amir Makar / AFP of visitors take photos of the Rosette stone at the British Museum in London, July 23, 2022.

The British Museum had Already strong to do with requests for return of the marbles of the Parthenon and of the Brenz bronzes. The London institution will have to dismember in the fall with a new campaign of the Egyptian authorities for the return of a jewel of its ancient collections: The stone of Rosette .

“The stone of Rosette is the icon of Egyptian identity, declared in August the archaeologist emeritus Zahi Hawass, in an interview with the daily Emirati The National . The British Museum is not allowed to show this antiquity to the public. ” The former Minister of Antiquities, prepares for the next month a petition bringing together the signing of a cohort of Egyptian and European specialists and intellectuals. Decided not to stop at the only engraved stele, the signatories will also require the restitution of the bust of Nefertiti and the zodiac of Dendérah , respectively kept at the Neues Museum in Berlin as well as in the Louvre.

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" These three objects are unique, their place should be in Egypt. We have gathered all the evidence that proves that these antiques have been stolen ", continues Zahi Hawass, who had already asked in the past the return of one or the other of these masterpieces of the Egyptian art. These complaints had increased in parallel to the site of the great Egyptian museum in Cairo . Pushed a Kyrielle of times, the opening of this new setting filled with national treasures is scheduled for November. Less than yet another unexpected.

In tune with the time

large museum or not, the Egyptologist has chosen its moment. An wave of return has animated European museums for a handful of years. France has returned to Senegal and Benin several sets preserved until then in its national collections. The Netherlands also work to give back to the African states concerned the fruits of ancient colonial looting, as in Germany, where a turnaround of last year should open the way to the return of part of the subtract bronzes In 1897, during the Palace of Edo's Palace, in the current Nigerian city of Benin City.

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in recent months, even the British Museum - usually prodigiously hostile to the smallest murmurs of restitution - seems to be headed for a historical agreement on the subject Marbles of Parthenon , coveted by Greece. So why not Egypt? "If I do not succeed, I know that my successors will continue these efforts. This is a matter that one cannot abandon ”, promises Zahi Hawass.

Discovery in 1799 by The French troops of the Egyptian expedition , the rosette stele was engraved in the 2nd century BCE. His text reports a decree of the reign of the Hellenistic King Ptolemy V. written three times, in hieroglyphs - Egyptian sacred writing -, in demotic - everyday writing - and in Greek, he offered in 1822, to Jean -François Champollion , the key to deciphering the most sacred and oldest Egyptian texts . The Egyptologist had however had to work on copies of the Trilingual Stone: the vestige had given in to the United Kingdom in 1801, with the rest of Egypt .

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