Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass has called on the British Museum to return the 2,200-year-old Rosetta Stone to Egypt.
The Rosetta Stone, a granodiorite stele inscribed with hieroglyphs, ancient Greek and demotic, is one of the most famous objects in the British Museum. It was acquired by the institution in London in 1802.
It is one of three objects that Hawass would like to see returned to Egypt. The other artefacts are a bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin and a sculpted Zodiac ceiling at the Louvre in Paris.
“I believe those three items are unique and their home should be in Egypt. We collected all the evidence that proves that these three items are stolen from Egypt,” Hawass told The National.
“The icon of Egyptian identity”
“The Rosetta Stone is the icon of Egyptian identity. The British Museum has no right to show this artefact to the public.”
Hawass told the publication that he plans to send a petition signed by a group of Egyptian intellectuals to the European museums in October.
“They left Egypt completely illegally and they should come back,” he said.
The former antiquities minister wants to see the Rosetta Stone displayed in the upcoming Grand Egyptian Museum, which will be the largest museum in the world dedicated to a single civilisation.