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Mummified Baboons May Reveal Location of the Land of Punt

April 18, 2010

Throughout their history the ancient Egyptians recorded making voyages to a place called the ‘Land of Punt’. To the Egyptians it was a far-off source of exotic animals and valuable goods.

From there they brought back perfumes, panther skins, electrum, and, yes, live baboons to keep as pets. The voyages started as early as the Old Kingdom, ca. 4,500 years ago, and continued until just after the collapse of the New Kingdom 3,000 years ago.

Egyptologists have long argued about the location of Punt. The presence of perfumes suggests that it was located somewhere in Arabia, such as Yemen. However the depiction of a giraffe, at a temple built by Queen Hatshepsut, tells archaeologists that Punt is likely somewhere in Africa – perhaps around Ethiopia, Eritrea or Somalia.

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