Der Stein von Rosetta – Eine Exkursion zum Fundort

Peter A. Schmitt 1
  • 1 Universität Leipzig, Beethovenstraße 15, D-04107 Leipzig, Deutschland
Peter A. Schmitt


The Rosetta Stone is one of the most important stone fragments in history. It is the most popular single object in London’s British Museum, has been the object of scholarly research and has had much written about it. Indeed, any account of the history of translation will at least mention the Rosetta Stone. Today, the name “Rosetta” is used metaphorically in the context of translation, foreign-language learning, and even space exploration. In the light of this, one would assume that all sources are in agreement on the facts but, surprisingly, this is not the case. This article shows that sources disagree even in the most obvious aspects, such as the material, colour, condition of the stone and, in particular, with respect to its discovery. Based on an excursion to Alexandria, Rashíd and the – in all likelihood – real discovery site in the Nile delta, this article provides facts and casts some doubt on the reliability of internet sources.

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Since its founding in 1956, Lebende Sprachen [Living Languages] has been the leading German journal for foreign languages in research and practice. It contains articles and reviews on language in general and also covers topics on specific languages and cultures, living languages and the life of language.