Read all about it
The writing on the Stone is an official message, called a decree, about King Ptolemy the fifth (Ptolemy V). The decree was copied on to stones put in every temple in Egypt. It says that the priests of a temple in Memphis (in Egypt) supported the king. The Rosetta Stone is one of these copies.
All hail the king
This is part of a limestone statue of Ptolemy V. When it was made it had a wig made of dark stone stuck on top! Ptolemy V, who was only thirteen years old, had been king for a year when the Rosetta Stone was carved.
Follow the script
The Stone has the same message written three times in different scripts. At the top is ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script, used by kings and priests. The middle writing is called ancient Egyptian demotic script, and it was used for everyday writing. The bottom writing is an ancient Greek script which was used for official information.
But how did they read it?
Experts trying to read the Egyptian language could already understand the ancient Greek script, so they could pick out certain words. They used these words to help read the rest of the message. The oval around the writing above is called a cartouche - it shows the name 'Ptolemy'. Only very important people had their names written in a cartouche.
Breaking and building
The Stone you see today would probably have been a bigger, longer shape to start with. When it was moved from the temple it had been put up in, the top section broke off. The broken Stone was used to build a military fort near a village called Rosetta. It stayed there until it was found by some French soldiers in 1799.
The Stone at the Museum
The Rosetta Stone was later handed over to Britain and given to King George III, who gave it to the British Museum. It has been on display at the Museum for more than 200 years. Sometimes the Stone is surrounded by so many people looking at it and taking photos that you can hardly see it!