The Rosetta Stone

What fun to see it

The Rosetta Stone is one of the top ten attractions at the British Museum. When we visited England last year August, my oldest son was delighted to be able to see the Rosetta Stone. He was the one who looked up its whereabouts in this vast museum and very determinedly led us to it.

Our visit to the British Museum that year was late in the afternoon and it was very busy. People stood ten deep in front of this famous stone. We had to wait a while to get a chance to read the inscription and stand in front of it for a few short moments.

My husband and I visited the British Museum on our recent quick trip to London. This time we visited during the morning hours and it wasn’t nearly as busy. I was able to spend more time admiring the Rosetta Stone and took a nice picture of it with me reflected in the background glass.


Why is the Rosetta Stone important?

The Rosetta Stone holds the key to translating hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics was the script used originally in ancient Egypt for religious texts. It stopped being used in the fourth century C.E. and the knowledge off how to read the small pictures that constitute this writing was lost until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone.

The Rosetta Stone is inscribed with text in three different scripts. The text is a decree, passed by a council of priests and is inscribed on the stone three times in three distinct bands of writing. The first is in hieroglyphics, the second in demotic (the native script of the ancient Egyptian people) and the third in ancient Greek (the language of administration.

It was the Rosetta Stone that enabled scholars to read the inscriptions and texts, tablets and tombs which facilitated our modern understanding of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

How was it discovered?

The Rosetta Stone was discovered by soldiers in Napoleon’s army in 1799 while digging the foundations of an addition to a fort near the town of el-Rashid (Rosetta). When Napoleon was defeated, the stone become the property of the British in terms of the Treaty of Alexandria (1801) along with other historical artifacts the French had found.

A very lucky find for the world.

Have a lovely evening.




#Photoprompt – Turning the pre-industrial revolution society into the modern super-species

People have been working at changing the world we live in ever since we started walking upright. Modern people speak of turning their lives around which means they aim to improve their quality of life in some way.

Where would humanity be without the discovery of the wheel?

Early humans in the Palaeolithic era (15 000 to 750 000 years ago) discovered that heavy objects that had a round shape were easier to move by rolling them. This inevitably led to the realisation that placing a round object, such as a fallen tree trunk, under and irregularly shaped, heavy object made it much easier to move.

The first wheel was developed in approximately 3 500 B.C. in the form of a potter’s wheel.  Although many other important discoveries preceded the wheel such at sewing needles, woven cloth, rope, woven baskets and boats, it was the invention of the wheel that facilitated turning modern man away from performing tasks slowly and laboriously by hand and towards mechanisation and mass production.

A wheel works by rolling. Rolling is a powerful way of reducing friction as only a small part of the wheel touches the surface at any given time. This rolling action makes it much easier to move things around. The invention of the wheel-axis combination was a stroke of genius that changed the way people traveled and transported goods.

The wheel was immeasurably important to human development, not only with regards to transportation, but in respect of the development of technology in general. The wheel an important aspect of the development of the spinning wheel, the cogwheel and the waterwheel. More recently, the wheel has contributed towards the invention of the turbine, gyroscope and propeller.

The discover of the wheel-axis combination did not come from nature, it was a totally human invention and is the one discovery that contributed the most to humans turning from the agriculturally focused societies of the pre-Industrial revolution into the modern-day super species that harnesses the power of all natural resources for self improvement. The wheel allowed humans to make advances that freed up their time, enabling them to be more creative in the areas of science, art, maths, music and engineering.

The down side of human development is that we are turning our planet into a cess pit of air, water and land pollution. Hopefully, we will be clever enough to find a way to reverse the damage we are doing to Earth and still retain the benefits that industrialisation and technology have provided to us.

This post was inspired by Sue Vincent’s photo challenge Turning. You can join in the challenge here:


Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ The Sutton Hoo Helmet

Sue Vincent has hosted Roberta Writes on her fascinating blog, Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. This post is about the historical discovery of the Sutton Hoo Helmet in East Anglia.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo


Since its discovery in 1939, the Sutton Hoo Helmet has been a highly evocative symbol of Anglo Saxon England.

The discovery of the Sutton Hoo Helmet

The excavation of the grave barrows or mounds at Sutton Hoo was at the instance of Mrs Edith Pretty. She had travelled extensively with her father during her youth and her visits to Egypt had resulted in an interest in archaeology.

In May 1939, archaeologist, Basil Brown, who had been commissioned by Mrs Pretty to investigate the burial mounds at Sutton Hoo, came across the remains of a burial boat which turned out to be a 27-metre vessel.  In July 1939, the excavation was taken over by Charles Phillips at the request of the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate of the Office of Works. Although little remained of the timbers that had formed the large chamber across the middle of the ship, Phillips’ team uncovered…

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#Interesting history – 1918 Spanish flu epidemic

Kuvahaun tulos haulle Interesting facts about the Spanish flu of 1918

I wonder what my latest ghost died from? Possibly she died in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic…

Two girls walking past park benches in 1916

It is a real shame as Helen was such a sweet little girl in her knee-length dress and coat with white socks and ankle boots.

Once again, my writing topic required a bit of research. introduces this subject as follows:

“The ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic of 1918 was one of the greatest medical disasters of the 20th century. This was a global pandemic, an airborne virus which affected every continent.”

According to this article, the Spanish Flu got its name because the first reported cases were in Spain. Germany, the USA, Britain and France all had media blackouts on news that might lower morale. The King of Spain was one of the first casualties of this extremely contagious virus.

Some interesting facts about the Spanish flu virus are as follows:

  1. Young adults, aged between 20 and 30 years old, were particularly affected. The disease struck hard and progressed quickly.
  2. Walt Disney is a famous survivor of the Spanish flu.
  3. More people died of the Spanish flu during 1918/19 than in the four years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351.
  4. The mortality rate of the 1918 flu epidemic was 20% of those infected. This is 200% higher than the usual flu mortality rate of 0.1%.
  5. WW1 helped the flu spread more quickly as the soldiers lived closely together in the camps and trenches.
  6. The flu turned to a vicious pneumonia within hours. The faces and bodies of dying victims turned blue from lack of oxygen.

I knew about the flu pandemic but I didn’t know a lot of this detail. Very interesting and scary.

Have a lovely evening.


#Photo prompt – Watcher

“Margaret knew someone was watching her before she heard the words.

“Wake up, you lazy brat.”

The harsh voice penetrated Margaret’s light morning sleep, snapping her awake.

She sat up in bed and looked at the latest entrant into her life with startled eyes.

Trepidation rose in her throat making it feel tight and closed.

The face peering at her from just inside the door was ugly. Cold, hard eyes, like chips of flit, glared at her from a countenance deeply etched with lines of discontent and hatred towards others. Her face and hands were covered with welts, inflamed and oozing pus.

She was surrounded by a cloud of miniature forms, they looked like tiny babies with wings. Their bodies were naked and horribly emancipated. It were their faces that shocked Margaret. Huge mouths dominated the tiny heads, full of sharp teeth like ivory needles. They hovered like a cloud of flies around the unsightly woman. Every now and then one would dart forward and latch itself to an exposed piece of her skin. Sucking onto her flesh like tiny vampires.

Margaret was stunned by this disagreeable picture as she watched her overtly from her bed.

What could she possibly have done to deserve such a fate? I can’t believe those creatures. They are disgusting.

Margaret shuddered.

The woman placed the tray of food on the table. Margaret had tidied up after her meal earlier that morning as best she could. She had stacked the dirty dishes on the tray as neatly as possible.

Her efforts were unappreciated by the intolerant shrew who stood in front of her.

“You filthy pig,” she shrieked at Margaret when she spied the tray. “What do you think I am? Your slave? Rinse off your plate and cup at once.”

Margaret had been reluctant to use the basin for this purpose. It didn’t seem hygienic to her to rinse dishes in a wash basin. She didn’t want to further aggravate this despot further. She jumped out of bed and rushed over to the table.

Grabbing the used dishes, she took them over to the basin and rinsed them under the cold water tap. Returning to the table, she placed them neatly on the tray.

“Shall I carry it somewhere for you?” Margaret asked, smiling her most diplomatic smile.

“No, you are not allowed out of this room,” sneered the woman.

“What shall I call you?”

“You can call me Amelia Dyer,” the woman snapped. She turned abruptly and left the room, locking the door meticulously behind her.”

An extract from Nemesis by Roberta Eaton

About Amelia Dyer

Amelia Dyer was one of the most prolific female serial killers in history. She lived during the Victorian era, from 1836 to 1897, and is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of between 300 – 400 infants.

Amelia trained as a nurse and, after the death of her much older husband in 1869, she turned to baby farming. This was the practice of advertising to nurse and adopt a baby from a desperate unmarried mother, for a once-off payment and baby clothing. The payment ranged from GBP5 for poor mothers to GBP80 for wealthier women.

Amelia was initially one of a number of unscrupulous caregivers who sedated the babies with alcohol and/or opiates. The babies often died of overdoses from these medications or through starvation caused by a reduction in their appetites due to the opiates.

Amelia apparently reached a point with her baby farming when she tired of waiting for the babies to die of starvation. She started murdering them by strangulation using white edging tape.

Dyer was arrested on 4 April 1897 of murder and was hanged by James Billington at Newgate Prison on Wednesday, 10 June 1896.

This post is for Sue Vincent’s photo challenge “Watcher”. You can join in the challenge here:


A Thousand Miles of History XXXIV: A haunt of ghosts and smugglers

Some more fascinating information about ghosts from Sue Vincent.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo


Image: ‘Self’ at Wikipedia GNU 1.2

It was dusk when we arrived at our hotel. Between rush hour, such as it is in Cornwall, and my refusal to believe that a sign reading ‘museum’ was really a sign for the inn we were seeking, it had taken a while to get there.  I had mixed feelings about staying at the place, given both its fame and its notoriety, but as it was in exactly the right location and a reasonable price too, we were to spend the night at a place reputed to be one of the most haunted inns in the country.

It wasn’t the prospect of ghostly roommates that bothered me so much as the fear that as the place has succumbed to the tourist trade, it would focus more on its profitable history than on the comfort of the guests. I need not have worried…

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Smorgasbord Writer in Residence – Back by Popular Request – The Party’s Over – Cabaret : the Evolution of a Musical

A fascinating post about the origins and background to the musical Cabaret. This is my all time favourite musical and I grew up listening to the songs sung by Liza Minnelli.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Paul Andruss was unable to join in with his usual amazing posts over the End of Summer Party, but he has written an exclusive piece to end the party week with a flourish… Thanks Paul…you are a star…

Most of us are familiar with the musical Cabaret, but Paul goes into the background and the real life characters that morphed into Sally Bowles and the rest of the cast.

Cabaret: the Evolution of a Musical by Paul Andruss

In 1931 Christopher Isherwood moved to Berlin, aged 26. At the time Christopher said he moved to escape the stifling confines of upper middle class England. He did, but later admitted the main attraction was the laissez-faire attitude of Berlin’s working class young men inhabiting the sexual underworld.

These young men were happy be available to comparatively wealthy foreigners, not in a professional capacity, more as ‘young brothers’. They received…

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