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Discovery at Rosetta: A Virtual Book Talk
The Rosetta Stone is arguably the most important Egyptian artefact ever discovered. It became the code-key to reading ancient hieroglyphics, the sacred script of the powerful priesthood – a skill lost for nearly 2000 years, and a puzzle that had defied scholars from Europe and the Middle East for centuries.

Author Jonathan Downs takes us through the extraordinary adventure of Napoleon Bonaparte’s mission to conquer Egypt, and how his hand-picked academic specialists awakened the world to the lost civilisation of the pharaohs. From the invasion of Egypt and the stone’s unexpected discovery, through a tale of spies and lies, to final decipherment by Jean-François Champollion – this is the secret history of the Rosetta Stone: and the cracking of the hieroglyph code.

Sep 27, 2022 06:00 PM in Cairo

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Jonathan Downs
British Historian, Journalist, and Editor
Jonathan Downs is author of Sea-Soldier (T.Wella, 2000), The Industrial Revolution 1770-1809 (Stroud, 2010), and Discovery at Rosetta, (London & NY 2008; Cairo 2020)—the first full account of the British acquisition of the Rosetta Stone in 1801, from discovery to decipherment. He has lectured at universities and private associations on the subject of Napoleonic Egypt, and written numerous articles concerning the repatriation of Egyptian artefacts and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution for the UK’s History Today magazine. He currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa.