The petroglyph in question is found in an article in Antiquity entitled
"Dating Egypt's oldest 'art': AMS 14C age determinations of rock varnishes covering petroglyphs at El-Hosh (Upper Egypt)" by D. Huyge, A. Watchman, M. De Dapper & E. Marchi.
Those authors date the El-Hosh Upper Egypt rock drawings by the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) 14C Method to the 6th millennium BC and allege that this is the oldest recorded graphic activity in the Nile Valley.
This measurement is in our opinion false.
The researchers had various locations at El-Hosh at their disposal and obtained the following values for the sites based on only FOUR values out of FIFTEEN samples taken - the remainder not having resulted in sufficient material for analysis:
Abu Tanqurah Bahari, Locality 2, Panel 1 57553 6690 270 5900 (68%) 5300
Abu Tanqurah Bahari, Locality 7, Panel 1 60893 3740 300 2600 (68%) 1700
Gebelet Jussef, Locality 2, Panel 1 60892 2450 320 1000 (68%) 100
Abu Tanqurah Bahari, Locality 3, Panel 3 60891 2280 320 800 (68%) ad 50
Only ONE of the four, i.e. one of the total of FIFTEEN samples supports the ancient date alleged by the authors. The other three samples gave a maximum date of 2600 BC. Hence, the one deviant sample is definitely questionable and highly unreliable. This work can by no means be used to allege that the El-Hosh rock art is from 6000 BC.
Quite the contrary, we have been able to decipher one of the panels as astronomy ca. 3000 BC and can also categorically say that the phallic symbols visible on the petroglyph are phallic symbols. The fish-trapping devices alleged to be present by the authors of the article, do not exist. This should already have been clear since no fish are to be seen on the petroglyph.
Here is our decipherment:
The key to our decipherment was the lower left-hand figure, which we magnified in our graphics programs, and it clearly shows the head of a man holding two animals, one in each hand, as on the wall painting at Hierakonpolis, where this picture represents Sirius and Canis Major, based on our decipherment of it. See LexiLine.
The phallic symbols represent in one case Gemini and the rest are the Milky Way. We recall seeing a documentary film some years ago that there are Nubian tribes in this region of the Nile that still practice phallic worship, so that these will be the authors of this rock drawing, perhaps in concert with a megalithic surveyor.
The petroglyph has a unique 3-D perspective if one stares at it for a while, which allows the long dark "posts" to be identified as a fence, which we interpret as marking the Vernal Equinox ca. 3000 BC. At that time, Orion is to the left of that equinox line, and so the three dark shorter posts with a larger square-like object in front of them (the star theta with M42 and M43) are the three stars of Orion's Belt.
The head above Orion can only be Auriga. Taurus is shown to the right of the equinox line as a V-shape. Perseus is in an animal with a thin long neck.
Cassiopeia (Cepheus is also possible) is a large human head. The remainder of the identifications are speculative and provisional due to the poor quality of the petroglyph.
Egyptology, Rock Art, El-Hosh, Archaeoastronomy