The long search for Punt seems to be drawing to a conclusion, thanks to new findings presented at 61st annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) that is taking place in Oakland, California. On April 23, 2010, the ARCE provided evidence that pin points Punt's location to be all of Eritrea and eastern region of Ethiopia.
The Heritage Key asserted: "Live baboons were among the goods that we know the Egyptians got from Punt. Sometimes the Egyptians mummified them and the British Museum has three well preserved samples dating from New Kingdom times. One was found in Thebes and the other was found in the Valley of the Kings."
The Heritage Key further elaborated that the reason why this works is because the environment an animal lives in, also will differ the levels of isotopes of oxygen, thus enabling scientist to determine their location. “Oxygen tends to vary as a function of rainfall and the water composition of plants and seed,” said Professor Nathaniel Dominy of UC Santa Cruz, who is on the team.
The scientist compared the oxygen isotope values in the ancient Egyptian baboons to those found among modern day ones.
“All of our specimans in Eritrea and a certain number of our specimens from Ethiopia – that are basically due west from Eritrea – those are good matches,” said Professor Dominy.
“We think Punt is a sort of circumscribed region that includes eastern Ethiopia and all of Eritrea.”
The researchers also reported that Somalia, Yemen and Mozambique did not match with AE baboons.
The research team hasn't been able to narrow their findings at the moment, but they have mentioned a working hypothesis of which part of Eritrea the Ancient Egyptians had docked their vessels.
“If you have a map in front of you and you can zoom in on Eritrea there’s a major habour there,” said professor Dominy (it’s located near modern day Massawa). “We have a specimen from that same harbour and that specimen is a very good match to the mummy.”
“There’s a lot more to be done I think,” added Dominy.
The team hopes to use a strontium isotope test to confirm Eritrea/Eastern Ethiopia as the baboon’s origin and hopefully narrow down its location a bit further. In order to do this, they will first need British Museum's permission to take a small pea-sized bone fragment from the Baboon mummy.
The scientist stated that Strontium isotopes work differently then oxygen isotopes. Strontium “comes from the bedrock, you breath in dust from the soils around where you live and you incorporate the strontium isotope of those soils,” said Dominy.
For a full report of this exciting new discovery, please visit: Heritage Key
For further reading of the land of Punt and its connection to Eritrea, visit here