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Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The battle for the Rosetta Stone


Egypt's most senior antiquities official is in London today to push on with a campaign to have the Rosetta Stone returned from the British Museum to the country.

The 2,000 year-old stone tablet provides a key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, and has been on display in the British Museum since 1802.

Egypt argues that it is an icon of its identity that was stolen and should be returned But the head of its Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Zahi Hawass, says he will drop his demand for its repatriation if the British Museum agrees to a temporary loan.

Dr Hawass and Roy Clare, chief executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, debate the stone's importance.

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