Mysterious Land of Punt

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Even if there are many descriptions of the Land of Punt, this Garden of Eden and eldorado of ancient Egypt, it is still shrouded in mystery. Where was this blessed land situated, from where Egyptians imported gold, olibanum and ebony?

Egyptians rode to a distant country at the time of the 5th dynasty, 2,500 years BC, which was called "the Land of Punt". Trading with the Land of Punt was even more intense at the time of Middle and New Kingdom and more and more stories, fairy tales and depictions appeared about this mysterious land. There are conserved reliefs in a beautiful temple in Deir el-Bahari on the western Nile bank in Thebes (Waset), which depicted an expedition sent by queen Hatshepsut right there in the Land of Punt.

What we know about Land of Punt

But what do we really know about this gorgeous and distant land? Only a little - for example we know, that Punt was located at an estuary, villages were created by round huts standing on piles and were entered through a small ladder and the physiognomy of inhabitants was similar to the Egyptians. Abundant vegetation grew there - olibanum trees, forked palms, mangrove. Then art also portrayed animals strange for Egyptians such as sawfish, giant tortoises, flying fish and many African animals - leopards, rhinos and girrafes.

Egyptians imported to the Land of Punt trinkets, which they traded for various products: gold, electrum (naturally occurring alloy of silver and gold), ebony, wild beasts skin, aromatic plants (olibanum trees, pistacia terebinthus) and gum, resin, myrrh and olibanum of course - so much treasured for the Egyptians.

Olibanum burned by funereal ceremonies and in temples, it served as a medicine, cosmetics and was used for delicious meals preparation. Queen Hatshepsut brought from her expedition to the Land of Punt many olibanum trees, which she let set in front of her temple in Deir el-Bahari.

It was supposed, that the Land of Punt was situated in the area of contemporary Yemen. But this hypothesis doesn't seem to be eligible, because the Kingdom of Sheba originated there 800 years BC ago and big Egyptian crusades dated over 2,000 years BC ago. Nowadays most of historians locate the Land of Punt to eastern boundaries of Sudan and along Eritrea and Somali Red Sea coast and the Gulf of Aden.

Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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