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Land of Punt

18 December 2020

The whereabouts of Punt have long exercised the minds of revisionists ever since Velikovsky proposed that it referred to the Holy Land = the southern Levant. SIS has over the last 40 years or so published numerous articles on the subject and these have swung to and fro with the later views coming to rest pretty firmly in the orthodox court = Punt was somewhere in NE Africa, reached by way of the Red Sea. In spite of that there are still the occasional letters and missives in support of Velikovsky, and there is no reason why that should not continue. Now we have a study that has pinpointed via science where the Land of Punt was likely located, and it verifies the orthodox opinion – but note they did not go further afield than NE Africa or southern Arabia so Velikovsky stalwarts will not be thwarted. At https://phys.org/news/2020-12-mummified-baboons-lost-punt.html … the headline claims the Land of Punt has been found, in a location that archaeologists have favoured for a long time, the general region of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and the Yemen in southern Arabia.

Mummified baboons seem to have been revered in ancient Thebes in Egypt and one can be seen at the British Museum, dating back to the early Old Kingdom period. Isotopic analysis supports the orthodox location. Punt was a source of exotic goods for the Egyptians, and appears to have by-passed Nubia [modern Sudan]. Goods such as incense, gold, leopard skins, and living baboons were the primary trade goods recorded, and no doubt others too, such as ebony. The new in depth study included primatologists as well as Egyptologists, geographers and geochemists, a sort of interdisciplinary hotch potch. The project sought to test the idea of long distance Egyptian voyaging as well, from Egyptian Red Sea ports. It is clear they were capable of reaching as far south as Djibouti although sailing into the Indian Ocean may not have been feasible – but one never knows. The location of Punt also has another angle as it might shed light on the Solomonic Land of Ophir. Was there a connection?

Ancient Egyptians appear to have revered baboons for some reason not easily understood by modern commentators. They mummified a lot of different animals that represented different aspects of the gods, from bulls to birds, to crocodiles and hippopotamus. The baboon treatment is interesting as they are always mummified in a sitting position with their tails curving to the right as can be seen in wall paintings and works of art and not just in the mummified remains. The particular variety of baboon, pupio hammadryas, is the species of most interest. Whereas crocodiles and hippopotamus were frequenters of the Nile and therefore known to Egyptians, the baboons differed. They never seem to have lived in Egypt – or at least during the dynastic period. They had a specific association with the Land of Punt. This association went back into the Old Kingdom period but the majority of remains appear to belong to the Late Bronze New Kingdom period – and Ptolemaic Egypt. The study and analysis examined tissue from 155 baboons from 77 locations, measuring oxygen and strontium isotopes in order to pinpoint the geographic origin of them. Strontium was particularly important because it is found in bedrock which is specific to location. Animals drinking water with bedrock particles leave behind a specific signature in their bones, which can be worked out from a geographical point of view. Excelllent piece of science but the region was confined, as noted already, to the bottom end of the Red Sea. The results however do confirm the archaeological and historical position, in a pretty convincing manner.

See also www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/12/3300-year-old-baboon-skull-may-tell-myst…

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