Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Land of Punt
The Land of Punt was a fabled and exotic source of trade with Ancient Egypt.
Punt appears to have also been the subject of an occasional military campaign from Egypt. The oldest known expedition to Punt was organised by pharaoh Sahure of the fifth dynasty (25th century BC). Around 1950 BC, in the time of Mentuhotep III, an officer named Hennu made one or more voyages to the land. A very famous one was the one Nehsi for queen Hatshepsut in the 15th century BC, to get myrrh. A report of this voyage is left behind as a relief in Deir el-Bahri. Several of the Hatshepsut's successors, such as Thutmoses III, also organised expeditions to Punt.
The 12th Dynasty pharaoh Senusret III had a canal constructed linking the Nile to the Red Sea for direct trade with Punt; this would seem to narrow the possibilities for its location. Early Egyptian records seem constant in indicating its location south of Nubia; but exactly what modern geographic territory it would correspond to is disputed.
Historians generally agree on eastern Africa, possibly near what is now Somalia or Eritrea; in his translation of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, G.W.B. Huntingford went so far as claiming the name Punt lay behind the name of Opone, a coastal marketplace located south of Cape Guardafui, and identified both Punt and Opone with Hafun. In the late 1990s part of Somalia even declared itself the independent republic of Puntland. However, the spices and other goods the ancient Egyptians boasted of obtaining there suggest a location on the southern coasts of the Arabian Peninsula. In the past even further places have been mentioned (Mozambique, Bahrain, India), but currently these candidates have largely been dropped in favor of the ones located nearby in Africa.
Some have even suggested a connection with the later Phoenicians, based on similarity of the word Put, but the latter word clearly refers to neither Punt nor Phoenicia (see the article Phut for further discussion). This is no longer a mainstream view.
- The Wonderful Land of Punt
- The Land of Punt with quotes from Breasted (1906) and Petrie (1939).
- Deir el-Bahri: Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
- Queen Hatasu, and Her Expedition to the Land of Punt by Amelia Ann Blanford Edwards (1891).
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