The Rosetta Stone is one of the British Museum‘s top attractions, but its popularity—and location in a glass case—can make it difficult to examine the historical artifact closely. Now, the museum has placed a 3D model of the Rosetta Stone online, allowing people around the world to get up close and personal with the piece—for free!
The museum collaborated with Sketchfab to bring the Rosetta Stone, as well as over 200 other items from the British Museum, online in three-dimensions. “This scan was part of our larger attempt to capture as many of our iconic pieces from the collection —and indeed the unseen in store objects—and make them available for people to view in 3D or in more tactile forms,” shared museum advisor Daniel Pett.
The model is accompanied by an audio explanation of the artifact, giving insight into the importance to the Rosetta Stone. Dating to 196 BC, it’s one of the most important artifacts from the ancient world. Containing lines of text in hieroglyphics, Greek, and Demotic, it was fundamental for our understanding of hieroglyphics, a language that had been lost until the Rosetta Stone’s discovery in 1799.
In 1802 the stone arrived in England and was offered to the British Museum, where it has remained since. And now, thanks to this 3D model, interested parties everywhere can examine this incredible archeological wonder. Made from 228 photographs, the model can continually improve over time with the addition of images.
For now, with the click of a mouse or pinch on a trackpad, it’s easy to turn the object 360 degrees and move in close to see the inscriptions. And while you’re there, check out some other interesting 3D models from the British Museum, like the marble statue of Roman emperor Septimius Severus or a large sculpture of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II.