Day 11

Trip Start May 04, 2007
Trip End May 21, 2007

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Janie, Department Head for Art & Design, picked me up at the hotel at 8am. The A&D department had 96 students going by coach (2 were hired) to London to see various museums although the Surrealist exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum was the main reason for going. The coaches left the North Rd. campus around 9:30am. The coach dropped us off in front of the Natural History museum in London. This is where we were to meet back before 6pm.

Louise had stopped by the bus and given me a Time Out London magazine which listed various things that were currently going on around the city. I noticed that Star Wars: The Exhibition was going on at County Hall which is right next to the London Eye. The exhibition stated there were models, concept drawings, and storyboards of various stages of all the Star Wars episodes. The video & film professor for B&P college worked on Return of the Sith (also various films such as Chocolate with Johnny Depp). This fascinated me so I decided to see the exhibition. Trevor McCready, professor of Media, decided to attend the exhibition as well.

We left the exhibition and made our way across town (walking and catching the tube at various spots) to the British Museum. When we got there it was extremely crowded. So many people were in the front courtyard to the museum and it didn't seem quite right. We asked a police officer and found out there was a fire alarm and the museum had to evacuate everyone. We waited around about 15 minutes and they started letting people back in.

The museum is free but asks for a donation into certain exhibitions. I didn't have a lot of time as I needed to be back across town to meet the coach before 6pm. I walked through the ground floor and saw the Egyptian and Roman exhibitions.

They have the Rosetta Stone on display which my son, Wade, told me I had to see. The plaque on the case states, "The Rosetta Stone carries an inscription in different languages which helped decipher the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script. It is the only surviving fragment of a larger stone slab (stela) recording a decree on March 27, 196 BC. At the top the decree was written in hieroglyphs, the traditional script of Egyptian monuments, already 3000 years old. In the middle the same decree was written in Demotic, the everyday script of literate Egyptians, and at the bottom in Greek, the language used by the government. At this time Egypt was ruled by a Greek dynasty, and the decree was issued in honour of the boy-king Ptolemy V Epiphanes. It records the decision of the Egyptian priests to establish a royal cult in return for Ptolemy's concessions to the Egyptian temples. The granitoid stone stela was placed in a temple, probably at the city of Sais near Rashid (Rosetta)." 

The Rosetta Stone was discovered in mid-July 1799 by soldiers in Napoleon's invading army at the town of Rashid (Rosetta). The history of the stone goes on to say "After Egypt became Christian, the Egyptian temples were closed and many were demolished and their masonry reused. At some time, the Rosetta Stone was broken and moved from its original location to Rashid where it was built into a fortress by the ruler of Egypt, Sultan Qaitbay, in the fifteenth century. In 1799 it was rediscovered as the French were building new defences. Its importance was immediately recognized, but when the French were defeated, it was surrendered to the British forces as part of the Treaty of Alexandria in 1801. it entered the British Museum in 1802. These events were recorded in painted labels on the sides, reading 'Captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801' and 'Presented by King George III'. Copies of the Rosetta Stone were circulated internationally to scholars, and within twenty-five years of the Rosetta Stone's discovery, the hieroglyphic script was deciphered."

I saw many statues of pharaohs and carvings of animals protruding from walls which were used as gateways into larger structures. I liked seeing the mummies although I wasn't allowed to take pictures of them.  I caught a tube back to the Natural History museum and the coach headed back to Bournemouth. It was a busy day but full of history, both ancient and not so ancient.
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