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Punt

Neighbours - The People

Punt

Known to the Egyptians as, “The Land of the Gods”

Where?

Its exact location cannot be guaranteed but Egyptologists do know that it was reached by Boat via the Red Sea. It has been suggested that it could be Yemen or the Horn of Africa, but using logic it was probably along the East Coast of Africa: maybe South Sudan, the Eritrean Region of Ethiopia or Puntland State in Somalia.

Who?

Trade missions brought not only goods but also trust and it came about that some of Punt’s Royalty arrived in Egypt to be educated with the Egyptian Royal Court.

When?

The 1st expedition which landed in Punt appears to have been during Pharaoh Khufu’s 4th Dynasty reign. By the 12th Dynasty the visits were very frequent. The last expedition seems to have been sent by Pharaoh Ramses III.

Inside the Mortuary Temple of Pharaoh Hatshepsut is where we find most of our historical record for her trade initiative to the country of Punt. This is found on the left-hand side of the second Terrace.

In details the reliefs show:

  • The expedition leaving Egypt in 2 boats
  • Then arriving in Punt and being greeted by the Chief, Parahu, and his rotund wife. They are recorded as saying, “How have you arrived at this land unknown to the men of Egypt? Have you come down from the roads of the Heavens? Or have you navigated the sea of Ta-nuter? You must have followed the path of the sun. As for the King of Egypt, there is no road which is inaccessible to His Majesty; we live by the breath he grants to us”
  • The Chief and his wife take the Egyptians to their Village which shows that their houses were built on Stilts
  • The visitors hold a Feast for the locals at which the locals give the visitors gold, gems and incense
  • The Egyptians leave for home in their boats carrying: Myrrha Resin; Fresh Myrrh Trees, Ebony, Ivory, Gold of Amu, Cinnamon, Ahmut and Senter Incense; Eye Makeup, Apes and Monkeys, Dogs, Panther Skins and some natives and their children, Gold and Silver, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Cattle and Panthers
  • Lastly Pharaoh Hatshepsut marks their return with a Procession to the Temple of Amun Ra, today’s Karnak Temple, where they thank the deities for the successful voyage
  • On their return the hieroglyphs reflected the amount of goods they brought with them, “. . . loading of the ships very heavily with marvels of the country of Punt; all goodly fragrant woods of God’s-Land, heaps of myrrh resin, with fresh myrrh trees, with ebony and pure ivory, with green gold of Emu, with cinnamon wood, khesyt wood, with two kinds of incense, eye-cosmetics, with apes, monkeys, dogs, and with skins of the southern panther, with natives and their children. Never was brought the like of this for any king who has been since the beginning. . .”