The stone is a granodiorite stele discovered in 1799 which is inscribed with three versions of a decree issued in Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes.
The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic and Demotic scripts respectively, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek. The decree has only minor differences among the three versions, so the Rosetta Stone became key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, thereby opening a window into ancient Egyptian history.
The front surface is polished and the inscriptions lightly incised on it, the sides of the stone are smoothed, but the back is only roughly worked, presumably because this would have not been visible when it was erected.
Before the end of 1802, the stone was transferred to the British Museum, where it is located today.