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  • Gavin O'Donoghue

Battle for the Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is called home to Egypt.

A petition by thousands of Egyptians demands the return of the ancient Egyptian artifact, the 'Rosetta Stone, back to its home country. It is currently the British Museum and has been since 1801.

The ancient artifact dating back to 196 BC was vital in decoding Egyptian hieroglyphs 200 years ago. The Rosetta Stone has been in British hands since 1801 under the terms of the Treaty of Alexandria (1801), and the French surrendered it along with other antiquities.

Archeologists in Egypt have organized an online petition which has gathered more than 2500 signatures to reclaim the artifacts. The archeologists are urging.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly retrieved the antiques through diplomacy and legal means.

Due to education and changing attitudes about colonialism, this could be the right time to return these artifacts to their country of origin.

For many Egyptians, keeping the Rosetta Stone in The British Museum represents British colonialism over their culture.

Many nations seek the return of stolen artifacts, and many western museums have started the repatriation process. Germany and France have taken the opportunity to correct past colonial wrongs by returning objects and artifacts to Africa.

There are ongoing calls for the British museum to return Parthenon sculptures to Greece. The statues are said to have been stolen 200 years ago by the British Lord Elgin, and there are ongoing disputes about the ownership of these marble statues.

The artifacts are seen in Egypt as essential to Egypt's national heritage. Having these items on display in European institutions ignores the history of exploitation and looting by colonialism.

Due to changing attitudes to the ethical acquisition of historical items, British authorities are likely open to the discussion of the Rosetta Stone returning home.

The petition says there is no denying that the removal of the Rosetta Stone was an act of plunder and should be returned. The presence of stolen artifacts in the British Museum supports past colonial endeavors and deprives Egypt of items of great cultural significance spanning millennia of an extensive history.

This petition follows decades of Egypt seeking the return of The Rosetta Stone. It is an opportunity for Britain to demonstrate moral leadership in the healing of past colonialism and the return of plundered artifacts.

Previously The Metropolitan Museum of Art voluntarily returned artifacts from its collection that came from Tutankhamun's tomb to Egypt.

Among them are a tiny bronze dog and a small sphinx from a bracelet. These items were repriated to Egypt to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.

The return of looted items to their country of origin is about healing and celebrating the history and people.

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