In Search of Punt

The expedition to the land of gold, also referred as Punt, from a relief in the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The ships are loaded in a harbor of unknown location with precious gifts for the Pharaoh and with exotic animals and plants as tributes. Note the baboons on board (from J. DÜMICHEN “Die Flotte einer ägyptischen Königin aus dem 17. Jahrhundert vor unserer Zeitrechnung” 1868, image in public domain).

The expedition to the land of gold, also referred as Punt, from a relief in the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The ships are loaded in a harbor of unknown location with precious gifts for the Pharaoh and with exotic animals and plants as tributes. Note the baboons on board (from J. DÜMICHEN “Die Flotte einer ägyptischen Königin aus dem 17. Jahrhundert vor unserer Zeitrechnung” 1868, image in public domain).

May 9, 1871 after a one year long search, the German geologist Karl Mauch finally spotted  was he had hoped for:  the ruins of gigantic buildings of stone – the remains of a long lost city, at least for the European explorer. The local people of the Shona tribe know the ruins well, in their language the buildings were called “dzimba woye” – the venerated houses – and build long ago by an ancient African civilization. Mauch however, following the racial ideas of his time, was sure that the buildings “could not possibly being built by Negroes.” He thought that he had discovered the ruins of the mythical city of Ophir, build by an unknown civilization and known in legends for the immeasurable wealth treasured there.

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