Abydos, Alan Dash, All things Woy, Amun, ancient Egypt, Anubis, Australia, basalt chisel, cartouche, Encyclopedia Of Dubious Archaeology, epithets, fraud, Günter Dreyer, Geb, Gosford, hieroglyphs, hoax, Kariong, Kenneth Feder, Khufu, National Parks and Wildlife Service, nefer, Nefer-Djeseb, Nefer-Ti-Ru, NPWS, obelisk, Old Kingdom, proto-Egyptian, Ray Johnson, Re-Horakthy, Rex Gilroy, Set, Son of Re, titles, Tomb Uj, translation
It’s time to put this issue to rest. This is my fourth and final installment in the hoax of the Gosford Glyphs. I suppose there’s always the chance I’ll return to the story at some future point, should more information surface that is worth comment. But for now I’d like to close our examination of the Gosford hoax with a review of modern investigations of the site and what relevant experts and witnesses have to say on the matter. Most of the material in Part 4 comes from Steve S., author of the blog All things Woy, whose investigative experience in the Gosford matter is the most throrough and rational I’ve encountered.
To begin, how far back can the Gosford glyphs really be tracked? When were they first brought to public attention? The site of the glyphs is somewhat remote, but not so much that one would expect them to have remained hidden for 4,500 years. That is, in fact, not what happened. Although it’s possible some of the glyphs may have been carved as early as the 1960s by local students, most of the carving seems to have begun in the early 1970s.
The first person to document the site was a local surveyor, now retired, named Alan Dash (Source). Dash was surveying a water easement in the early 1970s when he observed a man walking away from the Gosford site and heading toward a nearby abandoned cabin. Dash investigated the site and noticed some hieroglyphs carved along the western wall of sandstone, although at the time nothing was carved into the eastern wall.
Several months later Dash returned with a coworker to explore the site again, and noticed carvings on the eastern wall. About a year later more glyphs had been added, this time about 160 feet away from the original etchings.
The cabin to which Dash observed the man heading was frequently used by transients, and the man’s identity was never learned. The cabin was destroyed by brushfires in 1979, but this doesn’t seem to have stopped the carving activities. Early observers and photographers could chart the development of the glyphs, to a point, and the changes and additions are quite obvious. The photo below, from 1983, shows freshly cut glyphs:
Several of the most prominent glyphs were apparently some of the last added, and include the cartouches (see Part 3). Also among these additions was the large figure of the god Anubis. The photo below was taken in 1983:
Take note of the figure’s ears and compare them to the ears of the same figure in this photo from 2007:
The fresh quality of the cutting is painfully obvious in the first photo. When the details to the ears were added is not known, but one can see the wear to the carving in the intervening 20-plus years. This is actually significant. We are supposed to believe that these glyphs were carved in the reign of King Khufu, well over 4,000 years ago. Yet in the vicinity are authentic Aboriginal petroglyphs that are dated to about 250 years ago. These authentic petroglyphs are barely discernible today and most believe they will be entirely gone within 200 years, because of the poor quality of the sandstone. It is the same stone into which the “Egyptian hieroglyphs” were carved, but we are told by the Gosford promoters that they really do date to the third millennium BCE.
These promoters will go to great lengths to bolster their claims. Probably the staunchest supporter today is a man named Hans Dieter von Senff. I mentioned him briefly in Part 2. I am not an Australian nor have I ever been to that country, but I have a strong feeling that von Senff has taken it upon himself to pick up where Ray Johnson left off (recall that Johnson died some years ago). I’ve personally debated von Senff on the Gosford issue in an internet forum to which I belong, and while von Senff is an intelligent and articulate man, I was not left impressed.
Von Senff claims to have found a basalt chisel dating to the original carving of the glyphs (in von Senff’s position, this means 2500 BCE). He insists the chisel contains geological inclusions not native to Australia, the implication being the Egyptian sailors carried it with them from their distant desert homeland. There’s a photo of the chisel in von Senff’s paper, “Ancient Egyptians in Australia. The Kariong Glyphs, a Proto-Egyptian script deciphered” (Page 16), which can be downloaded from the internet as a PDF.
This brings up concerns of removing a possible artifact from government land—remember that Gosford is under the protection of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. While such an act is highly unethical, we needn’t worry. Not surprisingly, there isn’t much to this chisel. The closest access to Gosford is Bambara Road, and in past roadwork the Gosford City Council used countless chunks of basalt identical to von Senff’s chisel as fill. Basalt is plentiful in this area.
A bit of slight of hand, yes, but this is what hoaxers will resort to in desperation.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the Gosford promoters’ chief complaints is that no one credible has been to the site or observed the glyphs to render an expert opinion. Bear in mind that neither Ray Johnson nor Rex Gilroy, nor anyone else among the promoters, are themselves qualified in Egyptology or Egyptian hieroglyphs to render an informed opinion. But if you recall, in Part 1 I included quotes from three different Egyptologists who have seen photos of the glyphs, and all three are in agreement that the site is a hoax. What more need be asked of real experts?
Well, there is more. Numerous witnesses and experts of various fields also agree the site is a hoax. Here is a summary of some of them, together with our Egyptologists:
• 1983: David Lambert, Rock Art Conservator of the Cultural Heritage Division of the NPWS
• 1983: Professor Nageeb Kanawati, Department of Egyptology at Macquarie University, Sydney
• 2000: Australian Egyptologist Dr. Gregory Gilbert
• 2003: David Coltheart in Archaeological Diggings, Vol 10 No 5 Oct/Nov 2003 Issue No 58
• 2012: Dr. Ray Johnson, Egyptologist, University of Chicago, director of the Epigraphic Survey in Luxor, Egypt
I hate to beat a dead horse but please do remember that the above Dr. Johnson, a real Egyptologist, must not be confused with the late Australian by the same name.
Some of this is also summarized in a letter penned by Gosford Area Ranger Laurie Pasco (see here), dated May 17, 2011. The effect of this letter is that the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service is officially on record as stating that the Gosford glyphs are a hoax.
And, finally, there is Kenneth Feder’s book Encyclopedia Of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis To The Walam Olum. Feder covers the Gosford site and provides a succinct and convincing conclusion that the site is a hoax. Feder himself comments that the glyphs “are a trasnparent fraud” (2010: 121).
I hope that in the four parts of this article, I have been able to demonstrate the obvious nature of the Gosford hoax. Numerous experts have evaluated the glyphs and have judged them to be fake. I should hope the average amateur historian could come to the same conclusion in a few seconds’ time. For that matter, the average layperson ought to be able to do so. The nature of the Gosford site is absurd on the face of it and stretches logic beyond its limits, but this has never thwarted its ardent supporters from insisting they’re real.
Still, I think we can all agree, no matter how ardent the supporters are, they remain wrong. No amount of zeal can change reality.
Who carved the glyphs? No one seems to know. In all likelihood more than one person is responsible. Why did the original hoaxer(s) do this? The answer to that is even more elusive. Whoever he or they are, I have a feeling he or they are having a great laugh.
This brings it to a close, then. Is there any more to be said? About Gosford, I don’t think so. Yet recently I encountered a fellow on the Net who claims to have found early Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions near Cairns. He insists he was able to translate them, yet he refuses to release his translations or drawings or photos of the inscriptions. And there’s always Rex Gilroy’s yarns about Gympie Pyramid, so all in all there’s no shortage of fringe fun to address Down Under.
But this is enough for now.
My special thanks to Steve S. of All things Woy for allowing me to use his photos and to draw on his own investigative research.
As always, thanks for reading.
Feder. Kennth L. Encyclopedia Of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis To The Walam Olum. 2010.