The Egyptian government has made a formal request to borrow the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum (BM). A letter was sent last month by Dr Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. . . . . Whether the loan is eventually granted is expected to depend on three main factors.First, conservation, and whether the 1,680 pound stone could be at risk.
Secondly, if the Rosetta Stone can be lent in view of its iconic importance. It is probably the single most-visited object in the BM’s entire collection, attracting even more visitors than the Parthenon Marbles. The Rosetta Stone has been at the museum since 1802, and has only left the building twice—when it was evacuated during World War I and when it was lent to the Louvre for one month in 1972.
Finally, there will concerns over whether it would be prudent to lend to Cairo, because of possible pressure in Egypt to retain the stone or request its permanent return. After receiving advice on these points, the request will be considered by the BM trustees.
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