Vanessa Romo on NPR:
Thousands of Egyptians are demanding the repatriation of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum back to its home country. The iconic artifact, which helped scientists finally decode Egyptian hieroglyphs almost exactly 200 years ago, has been in English hands since Napoleon gave it up – as well as 16 other artifacts – as part of the Treaty of Alexandria in 1801. The latest campaign to reclaim the antiquities has gathered more than 2,500 signatures in an online petition launched by a group of prominent archeologists.
Together, these archeologists urge Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to “work through diplomatic and legal means” to retrieve the antiquities. According to the group and those who have signed on, the objects are integral to Egypt’s national heritage, and their continued display in European institutions deliberately ignores a history of colonialist looting and exploitation. Given changing attitudes toward the ethical acquisition of items, as well as an evolving sense of moral responsibility, the organizers say British authorities would be amenable to the return.