Furious Egypt demand Britain return Rosetta Stone after over 200 years in the UK

The fate of one of the world's most famous historical artefacts hangs in the balance after Egypt demanded England return the Rosetta Stone.

Currently housed at the British Museum, the giant dark grey granite slab with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics on was taken from its home country by British empire troops in 1801.

It allowed experts to finally crack the code of deciphering the ancient language during that time.

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But now some Egyptian experts have demanded its return.

Monica Hanna, dean at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, and organiser of one of two petitions calling for the stone’s return said: “The British Museum’s holding of the stone is a symbol of Western cultural violence against Egypt.”

She has also demanded the return of the mummy of Shep-en-Isis from the St. Gallen Museum in Switzerland, which was stolen by General Minotoli from the Prussian army in the 19th century.

The acquisition of the Rosetta Stone was tied up in the imperial battles between Britain and France. After Napoleon Bonaparte’s military occupation of Egypt, French scientists uncovered the stone in 1799 in the northern town of Rashid, known by the French as Rosetta.

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When British forces defeated the French in Egypt, the stone and over a dozen other antiquities were handed over to the British under the terms of an 1801 surrender deal between the generals of the two sides.

It has remained in the British Museum since.

The petition currently has around 5,00 signatures, however the Museum said the 1801 treaty includes the signature of a representative of Egypt, and refers to an Ottoman admiral who fought alongside the British against the French.

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The Ottoman sultan in Istanbul was nominally the ruler of Egypt at the time of Napoleon’s invasion.

The Museum also said Egypt’s government has not submitted a request for its return.

It added that there are 28 known copies of the same engraved decree and 21 of them remain in Egypt.

Egyptian authorities did not respond to a request for comment regarding Egypt’s policy toward the Rosetta Stone or other Egyptian artefacts displayed abroad.

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