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A photo showing the Rosetta Stone. The Stone is now housed in the British Museum. The Stone has hieroglyphics first, then Demotic, then Greek.
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Rosetta Stone

For thousands of years, the Egyptian civilization used a written language called hieroglyphics. You may have seen this language before. It uses a lot of pictures to get a point across.

When people started using Latin and Greek instead of hieroglyphics, nobody thought to write down how the old language was used. Years later, this made it very hard for anyone wanting to study the cool Egyptian culture.

The language might still be a mystery if not for the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. This block has three sections of writing on it--one in hieroglyphics, one in another language called Demotic (another language used in Egypt), and one in Greek.

When studying the stone, people realized that it contained one message written in three languages. This provided the key to being able to crack the hieroglyphics code! Today we often hear something compared to the Rosetta Stone if it provides a key to a code. It is for this reason that the newest comet mission, Rosetta, was named after this famous stone. Hopefully, the Rosetta mission's findings will provide a key to the "code" of where comets came from.

Last modified January 9, 2004 by Jennifer Bergman.

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