A punt on Punt

The quasi legendary voyage on behalf of Queen Hatshepsut to the “Land of Punt” was the subject of a documentary last night on BBC Channel 4. Worth a watch if you’ve not seen it for both the discussion of the issues and the reconstruction of one of the Punt ships as represented at Deir el-Bahri. Its on iPlayer until July 10th. I’m not sure I’d have wanted to be on that boat in the Red Sea though, the way it was rolling!

Most interesting were the finds at Mersa Gawasis where Katharine Bard and others have discovered examples of what they believe to be ship’s ropes with a 12th – 13th Dynasty context (1991 – 1649  BCE) and wooden boxes with hieroglyphic inscriptions referring to Punt..

English: An illustration from the Encyclopaedi...

English: An illustration from the Encyclopaedia Biblica, a 1903 publication which is now in the public domain. Fig. 1 for article “Ship”. Image of Queen Hatshepsu’s sailing boat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One quibble on this programme – it gave me the impression that the finds at Mersa Gawasis could be contemporary with Hatshepsut. They aren’t. They predate the supposed Punt voyage (some time around 1490 BCE)  by around 500 years.

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