Romancing the Stone

An Egyptologist explains the Rosetta stone's lasting allure

(Eric Jaffe)

(Continued from page 2)

It might well be a big monumental inscription that gets dug up, like a memorial in the cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Something like that.

But the thing that worries me—really worries me—is that when I was researching my book, I found we know an awful lot about Champollion. We know it because he wrote letters in pen and ink and people kept those letters.

Now, we send e-mails. We do a document, we exit and we save the changes, but the original changes have all gone. And if, at some point, we can't do computer technology, if we can't read disks and things like that, it's lost. We could end up with a real blank, in our generation, in our historical record.

So the next Rosetta stone might actually need to be made of stone because somebody could press a button and that would be it.

About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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