Finding Rosetta Chapter Summary

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Waxman, S. 2008 Finding Rosetta (ch. 2.). Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World. Times Books, N.Y. Throughout the course of this chapter Waxman overviews how antiquarianism and Europeans within Egypt had both positive and negative effects on Egyptology. She starts off by looking at Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt and the work his savants took on as they documented the great monuments of Europe. She then goes off to talk about Jean-Francois Champollion and Giovanni Belzoni whose work have both increased in the understanding of Ancient Egypt but have also had negative effects on its preservation. The author finishes the chapter by looking at the politics of possession, using Nefertiti’s bust as a prime example …show more content…
Champollion deduced that Egyptian Hieroglyphs were a mixture of both ideographic and phonetic signs, and later made this public with his completed work, Precis du Systeme Hieroglyphique. On top of this great contribution, Waxman also mentions the fact that Champollion was responsible for looting two vivid wall sections from the tomb of Seti I. Not to mention, as stated by Waxman, the Rosetta Stone itself has never returned to …show more content…
What Waxman brings forth is that learned Europeans believed that they earned the right to the treasures and monuments of Egypt because they were the only true ones who could appreciate them. He only highlights this understanding of antiquarianism with the life-like bust of Queen Nefertiti, which Waxman discusses, was a great treasure of the ancient world. The bust was relatively smuggled out of the country to be housed in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin by Barchardt, the archaeologist who uncovered it. Needless to say, Egypt was angry and immediately demanded the bust back. What ensued were attempts from Egypt to get it back, such as offering other objects in exchange for the beautiful queen, or even asking famed Adolf Hitler for its return. The author places an importance on the fact that the discussion of the bust is still visible today as well. The prime example she uses is the arguments for and against Nefertiti’s return to Egypt which was taken up by lawyers in a conference in 2004. There findings were that Egypt had been under British control during the time of its “smuggling” so it wasn’t in control at the time; it served better in Berlin because it reached a wider audience; and alluding to an earlier question of ‘cultural identity’, the bust wasn’t essential to contemporary Egyptians because there cultural values

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