King Narmer grasps an enemy soldier by the hair and prepares to smite him with a club, on one side of the Narmer Palette. According to many scholars, the 25-inch-long stone cosmetic palette, dating around 3000 B.C., shows the forging of Egyptian civilization, with the conquering hero Narmer unifying the southern and northern parts of Egypt and laying the groundwork for the later dynastic period. In “Narmer’s Enigmatic Palette,” however, art historian and Egyptologist David O’Connor asks, Do we really know how to “read” this ancient imagery?