Archaeological Facts that Could Change the Way We See History
Archaeological Facts that Could Change the Way We See History

Archaeological Facts that Could Change the Way We See History

Khalid Elhassan - December 2, 2021

Archaeological Facts that Could Change the Way We See History
The discovery of the Rosetta Stone. Look and Learn

1. An Archaeological Discovery That Finally Gave Us a Window to Ancient Egypt

Pierre Bouchard was a French army captain who had accompanied Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt. On August 21st, 1799, he was in charge of the restoration of an old fort near the town of Rosetta. When his men uncovered a block of basalt that measured 3 feet 9 inches high by 2 feet 4 inches wide, and inscribed with three different types of writing, Bouchard immediately grasped its significance. He promptly alerted a team of French scholars who had accompanied Napoleon to Egypt. The archaeological find, which came to be known as the Rosetta Stone, contained Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Egyptian Demotic scripts.

Nobody knew how to read hieroglyphs or Demotic, but scholars could read Greek. The Greek text informed archaeologists that the stone honored the second century BC King Ptolemy V. More importantly, the Greek text declared that the three scripts contained identical message. The artifact thus held the key to solving the riddle of ancient Egyptian writing, which had been dead for over a millennium. Several scholars made initial progress in cracking the hieroglyphs until French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion conclusively cracked the code in 1822. From then on, the language, history, and culture of ancient Egypt were opened to scholars as never before.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Adams, Mark – Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City (2015)

Ancient History Encyclopedia – Troy

Ancient Origins – Questioning the Mycenaean Death Mask of Agamemnon

Antikythera Mechanism Research Project – Project Overview

Booth, Charlotte – The Boy Behind the Mask: Meeting the Real Tutankhamun (2007)

Discovering Ancient Egypt – Mystery of the Rosetta Stone

Dodson, Aidan – Amarna Sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter-Reformation (2009)

Encyclopedia Britannica – Akhenaten, King of Egypt

Encyclopedia Britannica – Sir Austen Henry Layard

Federer, Kenneth L. – Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walum Olum (2010)

History – 6 Secrets of King Tut

History Collection – Archaeologists Find New Evidence of a Skull Cult in the World’s Oldest Temple

History Extra – 8 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Tutankhamun

History Today, Volume 61, Issue 7, July, 2011 – The Discovery of Machu Picchu

Independent, The, September 21st, 2015 – Tutankhamun Interred in Second-hand Sarcaphagus: Researchers Discover Ornate Stone ‘Coffin’ Was Altered For Boy King After Egypt Turned Against Earlier Pharaoh

Live Science, June 23rd, 2016 – Ancient Greek ‘Computer’ Came With a User Guide

Live Science – ‘Lost City’ of Atlantis: Facts & Fable

National Geographic – Atlantis

National Geographic, February 17th, 2010 – King Tut Mysteries Solved: Was Disabled, Malarial, and Inbred

National Geographic, June 19th, 2017 – Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows

New Scientist, September 10th, 2015 – New Species of Extinct Human Found in Cave May Rewrite History

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 7th, 2014 – Earliest Evidence For Commensal Processes of Cat Domestication

Smithsonian Magazine, February, 2015 – Decoding the Antikythera Mechanism, the First Computer

Smithsonian Magazine, June 8th, 2016 – The World’s First Computer May Have Been Used to Tell Fortunes

Vox, May 17th, 2017 – The Antikythera Mechanism is a 2000 Year Old Computer

Wikipedia – Homo Naledi

Wikipedia – Tutankhamun