Gosford Glyphs

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What are the Gosford Glyphs?

The Gosford Glyphs are a set of nearly 300 engravings in Brisbane Water National Park in Kariong, New South Wales, Australia.[1] They glyphs were "discovered" in the mid to late 20th century. The glyphs resemble ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and, although most genuine archaeologists have dismissed the idea that they're over 5000 years old and carved by Egyptians, some sources believe they are.[2]

The glyphs were first reported by Alan Dash, a local surveyor in Gosford, in the 1970s. Dash returned to the site a few times and found new additions to the glyphs each time.[3] The glyphs were analyzed by many qualified experts and most, if not all, of them have come to the conclusion that the glyphs at Kariong are not genuine Egyptian hieroglyphs. Some archaeologists have proposed that they may be from Australian soldiers who had been in the area based on other occurrences of "Egyptian" writing and culture being created by Australian soldiers in the area.[1]

New Glyphs

From the initial discovery of the glyphs, changes have been made to them over periods of Egyptologists and enthusiasts alike checking and documenting them. In the first documented report of the glyphs "[Alan] 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." It is known from more recent documentation and photos that there are now glyphs on the eastern wall, so those must have been added since the 1970s when Alan Dash first made his report on the glyphs. There have been several other documented changes to the glyphs, including additional lines being carved into the glyph of Anubis' ears.[3]

The glyphs were also added to in the 1980, which is known because of David Lambert, a rock art expert who examined them in 1983. He noted that "the glyphs had only recently been carved due to the lack of lichen growth in the carved grooves and the visual appearance of spalling chips around the symbols"[4]

The most recent documentation of the glyphs being added to is from the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. In a letter they state that one of the park officers caught someone adding cartouches to the wall with a chisel.[5]

Even in the unlikely scenario that some of the glyphs on the western wall had been carved 5,000 years ago, the recent additions to those glyphs and the eastern wall would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove. In addition, if only some of the glyphs had been on the walls 5,000 years ago, then the pseudoarchaeological story that has been constructed around the glyphs would have been incomplete, so not possible that any of the glyphs were carved 5,000 years ago.

The Pseudoarchaeology of the Glyphs

Some pseudo-Egyptologists, such as Mohamed Ibrahim, who studied "(Ancient Egyptian, Coptic, Islamic) Art and history at Helwan University in Cairo"[6], and Yousef Abd’el Hakim Awyan, who "studied ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs his entire life"[2] but has no formal Egyptology education, argue that the glyphs must be real because they show an extensive knowledge of glyphs, even beyond the knowledge of translating software.[7] This statement has been disproved by most Egyptologists, whom agree that whoever carved the Gosford Glyphs actually didn't have much knowledge of the glyphs due to their disorganized nature and the varying chronology of the glyphs.[1]

The story of the glyphs, according to the following translation, is as follows: Two Egyptian princes, Nefer-Djeseb and Nefer-Ti-Ru, sons of Khufu (king of Upper and Lower Egypt), sailed eastward for eight months until they reached land. Then, Nefer-Ti-Ru was bitten by a snake twice and died from the poison. Then prince Nefer-Djesed and the ship's crew mummified and buried Nefer-Ti-Ru in between the walls that the glyphs are carved on.

These two princes are not mentioned in any sources outside the context of the Gosford Glyphs as having existed, much less being King Khufu's sons. Khufu's children are fairly well documented, so it doesn't make sense that there are no records of these two specifically.

The "Translation"

This "translation" was created by Ray Johnson, from Queensland, Australia, and Hans-Dieter von Senff.[8]


[1] FOR HIS HIGHNESS, THE PRINCE, from this wretched place in this land, where we were carried by ship. Engraved for the Crown of Lower Egypt, according to God’s word. [2] My fellow Egyptians call out from this place in this strange land for the god SUTI. I, NEFER-DJESEB, Son of KHUFU, king of Upper and Lower Egypt (beloved by Ptah), has brought the god SUTI. [3] The Prince was kind and benevolent, follower of the SunGod Ra. [4] For two seasons (eight months) he directed us eastward, weary, but strong to the end. Always praying, joyful, and smiting insects. He, the servant of God, said God created the insects to protect his people. [5] I myself am hardened, have gone around hills and deserts, in wind and rain, with no lakes at hand, blessed by the falling nights, when I hided myself, completely out of reach. [6] In our last camp I cooked fowl on hand, and brought rain, but hurt my back carrying the Golden Falcon Standard, crossing hills, desert and pools of water along the way. [7] Plants are withering, Land is dying. Is this our lot from the highest God of the Sacred Mer? [8] The Sun is pouring down upon our back! Oh mighty Khepera, this is not what the Oracle has said. Our Harts are overturned, but not broken. [9] This Regal person NEFER-TI-RU came from the temple of God in Penu, Egypt. He came from the House of God. He was the Son of KHUFU, king of Upper and Lower Egypt. [10] He, who died before, is here laid to rest. May he have life everlasting. [11] He is never again to stand beside the waters of the Sacred Mer. Then clasp him, my Brothers Spirit to thy side, O Father of the Earth.


[12] The snake bit twice. We, followers of the divine king KHUFU, mighty one of Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Adzes, we shall not all return. However, we have to continue, we cannot look back. [13] All creek and river beds are dry, and we are dismayed. Our boats are tied up with rope. Death was caused by snake. [14] We gave egg-yolk from the medicine-chest, and prayed to Amun, the Hidden One, for he was struck twice. [15] It was a hard time for all of us, weeping over the dead body, and keeping to the protocol. [16] Seated all aside, our men watched the funeral, with concern and deep love. How the mummified body was buried in the Red Earth Section. [17] Then we recovered ourselves. [18] We walled in the side entrance to the chamber, with stones from all around. The chamber was aligned with the Western Heavens. [19] I counted and impounded the daggers of our men. [20] The three doors of eternity were connected to the rear end of the Royal Tomb, and sealed in.


[21] He, who doesn’t belong to this place, will not return home to the town of Penu. [22] Remember with love his nobel spirit. He will only receive the most purest fruit. Personally I devided one third of the fruit for the burial service.


[23] Oh God, reach down your hands, and make the Land green. [24] A necklace was placed by his side, A Royal token, signifying: “Heavens Gift, as from thou...!” [25] The shining relics were carried to the private sanctury of his Tomb. In the name of the spirit of the sanctuary at the town of Penu. [26] Along with the silver dagger, a Royal token of God, our Creator. Separated from home is the Royal Body, and all others.


Hieroglyphs on a North Wall:

[27] We have irrefutable evidence our King’s Son was killed by too much poison.

Hieroglyphs on a West Wall:

[28] In the name of the Lord we buried him in the Royal Tomb in the northern part of this place, which was closed at the back side.

The Translators

Australian Ray W. Johnson

The primary translator, Australian Ray Johnson(as opposed to the American Egyptologist Ray Johnson), was not a scholarly Egyptologist as he had no formal education or professional experience in Egyptology. This Ray Johnson was self-taught in any and all of his knowledge on Egyptian culture, history, and hieroglyphs. In addition, Ray Johnson had no formal training in translating Egyptian/proto-Egyptian hieroglyphs. Despite that, Ray Johnson created most of the above translation as the primary translator.[4] He translated most of the glyphs before he died in 2004.[4]

American Ray W. Johnson

There is a genuine Egyptologist by the name of Ray W. Johnson who works as a "Beaker Credentialed Trainer/Principal Trainer" at the University of Chicago.[9] This Ray Johnson was not in any way connected to the translation of the Gosford Glyphs. This Ray Johnson has stated that "those rock inscriptions were clearly not done by any ancient Egyptians", so he, like other Egyptologists doesn't believe that the glyphs are genuine Egyptian hieroglyphs.[4]

The existence of a genuine Egyptologist with the same first and last name, Ray Johnson, may have led to validation to some extent of the translation of the glyphs, whether it was intentional or not on the American Ray Johnson's behalf. Many sources about the Glyphs do not clarify which Ray Johnson when talking about the Glyphs, so any uninformed individual who looks up Ray Johnson may look up the wrong one and believe that the credentials and professional accomplishments they find belong to the Australian Pseudoarchaeologist instead of the American Egyptologist. Sources that support the idea that the Glyphs are genuine Egyptian hieroglyphs also generally avoid clarifying that the Australian Ray Johnson is not a scholarly or professional Egyptologist, because they do not want to discredit their claims in any way.

Hans-Dieter von Senff

According to "Unexplained Mysteries Discussion Forums", "Dr. Hans Dieter Von Senff has a degree in Multicultural Studies from Newcastle University. Dr. Von Senff also holds a Bachelor of Arts- English Literature, Australian Defense Studies and German from the University of Queensland and has a Ph.D. in Germanistics." Although Von Senff has several degrees, none of them are directly relevant to the study of Ancient Egypt, Egyptian History, Egyptian glyphs, or proto-Egyptian glyphs. Von Senff also has no professional experience working in the field of Egyptology, so he is, like the Australian Ray Johnson, also not a genuine Egyptologist (as of early December 2021). He is also a retired bus driver.[4]

Von Senff is one of the biggest supporters of the Gosford Glyphs being legitimate Egyptian carvings. According to the same source above, Von Senff states "These Hieroglyphs are real and have existed for some 4,500 years in Australia. In order to prove that these Proto-Egyptian glyphs are not graffiti, as claimed by various "Experts” and “Egyptologists”, but are the written record left by pre-historic man, written in a coherent and understandable language that makes sense even 4,500 years later. This site is no hoax, but a genuine archaeological discovery; as is proven by the newly discovered 2nd set of glyphs."[10] His claim implies that not only has there been genuine archaeological evidence of the site's validity, but that the glyphs, which he has no credentials to translate/decipher, are both accurate carvings and written in a "coherent" matter. That claim is one that Egyptologist who have scholarly experience or education in translating and/or identifying glyphs have disproven several times.[1]

The Translation's Creation

Ray Johnson was the primary translator of the glyphs. He created most of the "translation" that we have, despite having no formal training in translating Egyptian/proto-Egyptian hieroglyphs. Most Egyptologists who have professional experience or formal education in translating Egyptian glyphs have said that the glyphs have quite a few inconsistencies and they have yet to verify or provide a translation, so Johnson likely had to make a few assumptions in order to translate the glyphs.[4]

After Ray Johnson's death in 2004, Von Senff continued and finished the translation, making publications in 2004 and 2011.[8] Von Senff also referred to the late Ray Johnson as "Australia's foremost Egyptologist" in the dedication of his book on the Kariong Glyphs, so is is clear he holds a lot of respect for his predecessor.[11] During his translating, Von Senff used several logical fallacies such as "The fact that it is a Proto-Egyptian scrip, hence pre-dynastic, is fully overlooked by experts. This fact alone validates the script as genuine."[11] in order to translate the glyphs to any extent. The fact that the script is Proto-Egyptian doesn't validate the glyphs, especially since Egyptologists have proven that some of the glyphs are from thousands of years later.

This translation, and all others like it, has not been verified by any genuine Egyptologists, mostly because they have come to a consensus on the glyphs not being organized enough to tell a story, as well as the fact that some of the glyphs were not created and used until thousands of years after the carving was supposedly made.[1]

The Actual Archaeology

Many Egyptologists have come to the consensus that the glyphs are fake because of inaccuracies/discrepancies in the glyphs. These Egyptologists include: Australian Associate Professor Boyo Ockinga from Macquarie University's Ancient History Department[1], who has a Dphil in Egyptology[12]; Australian Egyptologist, Professor Naguib Kanawati[2], who has a Masters degree and Doctorate in Egyptology[13]; and American Ray W. Johnson, an Egyptologist at the University of Chicago[4]. According to Ockinga, inaccuracies are evident in the way that the glyphs were carved into the rocks, as well as the time periods that the different glyphs that are carved originated from[1]. Kanawati also states that some of the glyphs appear to have been carved backwards[2]. Additionally, some of the glyphs came from thousands of years after the Gosford Glyphs were supposedly carved.[1] Inconsistencies in the glyphs don't make sense for something that's supposed to be a royal expedition of two princes. The princes would have brought skilled scribes to do the carvings, so no matter how old the language being carved was(whether it was proto-Egyptian or Egyptian), the glyphs should be consistent to the style and craftsmanship of a trained scribe.

Archaeologists have also yet to find any mummified remains from the deceased prince buried near the wall of the glyphs. So either the travelers, who had not planned to dig a grave or mummify any of the crew/passengers aboard their ship, dug an extremely deep hole to bury the mummified remains in, or there is no prince buried there. The combination of a lack of mummified remain and an excess of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the glyphs themselves lead to the conclusion that no Egyptian princes traveled to or dies in Gosford.

It's likely that the glyphs were carved in the 1920s by Australian soldiers. Professor Ockinga says "We have other instances of Australian soldiers having carved, Egyptianizing objects in the Kurringai National Park near Sydney". There was an increase in interest over Egyptian culture after the discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, so it's very plausible that some of the soldiers at the time knew about ancient Egyptian culture and hieroglyphs. Evidently the interest in Egyptian culture was enough to know correct glyphs but not enough to know the chronology of those glyphs.[1]

It is also worth noting that even though it's been confirmed by many archaeologists to be a hoax, if the Gosford Glyphs were genuine Egyptian glyphs from 4-5,000 years ago, archaeologists wouldn't be trying to hid or cover that up. Many, like professor Ockinga, would love for the glyphs to be legitimate ones. Professor Ockinga has even said "I'd be the first person who'd welcome some sort of link that because it would make my subject relevant to Australian history," archaeologists want to find new information about our history and culture, especially when it's relevant to their field or personal connections (like being Australian). The idea that archaeologists, like professor Ockinga, would want to hide the truth about Egyptian visitors to Australia is unfounded and evidently false.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 >ABC News. (2012, December 14). Egyptologist debunks new claims about “Gosford glyphs.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-14/glyphs-reax/4428134
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Team, A. C. (2017, November 16). Translated: This is what the 5,000-year-old ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in Australia say. Ancient Code. https://www.ancient-code.com/translated-this-is-what-the-5000-year-old-ancient-egyptian-hieroglyphs-in-australia-say/
  3. 3.0 3.1 K. (2012, April 21). The Gosford Glyphs Hoax, Part 4. WordPress.Com. https://ancientneareast.org/2012/04/21/the-gosford-glyphs-hoax-part-4/
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Expert Opinions. (n.d.). Kariong Hieroglyphs. http://karionghieroglyphs.blogspot.com/p/the-npws-reluctantly-conduct-regular.html
  5. Pasco, L. (2011, May 17). New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service [Scan of a Letter]. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SjbEqjrdrYw/UxREmwHYXnI/AAAAAAAAAWw/1dTMc5qCV0g/s1600/NPWS+letter.jpg
  6. Belair, M. (2018, November 20). 208 | The Ancient Egyptian Creation Story with Egyptologist Mohamed Ibrahim | Top Consciousness Podcast | Matt Belair. Https://Mattbelair.Com/208-the-Ancient-Egyptian-Creation-Story-with-Egyptologist-Mohamed-Ibrahim-Top-Consciousness-Podcast/. https://mattbelair.com/208-the-ancient-egyptian-creation-story-with-egyptologist-mohamed-ibrahim-top-consciousness-podcast/
  7. Hidden Inca Tours. (2016, March 12). Gosford Glyphs: Did The Ancient Egyptians Visit Australia? https://hiddenincatours.com/gosford-glyphs-did-the-ancient-egyptians-visit-australia/
  8. 8.0 8.1 INSTITUTE OF MEGALITHIC RESEARCH. (n.d.). EGYPTIANS IN AUSTRALIA. https://www.slideshare.net/rmdejonge/go-sford-4
  9. Wiza - Univeristy of Chicago. (n.d.). Wiza. https://wiza.co/d/university-of-illinois-at-chicago/095e/ray-johnson
  10. Unexplained Mysteries Discussion Forums. (2012, April 2). [Merged] The Kariong Glyphs. https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/224889-merged-the-kariong-glyphs/
  11. 11.0 11.1 von Senff. (2011, December). Ancient Egyptians in Australia - PDF Free Download. https://docplayer.net/24987833-Ancient-egyptians-in-australia.html
  12. Boyo Ockinga. (2021). Macquarie University. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/boyo-ockinga
  13. Naguib Kanawati. (2021). Macquarie University. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/naguib-kanawati