Punt is the name given to a land with which the ancient Egyptians traded. The leading theory is that it was located to the southeast of Egypt, roughly occupying what is now called ‘the Horn of Africa, although there is also a popular view that it was situated on the Arabian Peninsula. Others suggest that a combination of parts of both regions might be nearer the truth. An article of November 2016 elaborates on the claim for this identification(e).
Along with the many luxury goods that Punt supplied to Egypt were baboons, so it was interesting to read in 2020 that “a new study tracing the geographic origins of Egyptian mummified baboons finds that they were sourced from an area that includes the modern-day countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Yemen, providing new insight into Punt’s location.”(i). The investigation centred on the strontium levels found in the ancient remains.
In 2013, a short book by Ahmed Ibrahim Awale, placed Punt in the same region, namely, in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. A favourable and well-illustrated review(f) of Awale’s book is worth a read. The worldhistory.org website has pointed out that the name of the Puntland State of Somalia may preserve a memory of the original mythical Punt(h).
Frank Joseph in his Atlantis Encyclopedia[0104.37] claims that “the Lands of Punt (are) often associated with the islands of Atlantis.” Joseph expands on this in an Atlantis Rising article(a) where he refers to an ancient Egyptian story of “The Shipwrecked Sailor” in which the ‘Serpent King’ is identified as master of the island of Punt, which again Joseph claims to be Atlantis.
More recently, a small number of commentators have identified Punt/Atlantis with Indonesia(b)(c). Dhani Irwanto, who is a leading advocate of an Indonesian Atlantis published in November 2015 an extensive article online(d) in which he specifically names the Indonesian island of Sumatera (Sumatra) as the land of Punt. He has now expanded this into a book, Land of Punt: In Search of the Divine Land of the Egyptians . Irwanto goes further and also identifies the mysterious land of Ophir in the Bible as Punt.
(a) See: Archive 2790
Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002)was not an advocate for any particular theory regarding Atlantis, except to state that in his view Plato’s text was more supportive of an Atlantic location rather than a Mediterranean one. However, in the same book, Early Man and the Ocean, he lists 53 cultural similarities between civilisations in Mesoamerica and those in the eastern Mediterranean. He did so in order to advance his belief in a diffusionist approach to the study of cultural development. His observations were not the first as parallels between cultures of both sides of the Atlantic were noted as soon as the Spanish invasion of America took place. Years earlier, Ignatius Donnelly, in the first attempt at a more scientific approach to the Atlantis question, drew up similar lists.
>Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition gave credence to his theory of indigenous Americans and Polynesians being in contact with each other prior to European colonisation and is still relevant today, as his Kon-Tiki expedition completes 75 years, the Kon-Tiki Museum based in Oslo has said.
The strongest validation the theory received was in 2020 when an American research group made a comprehensive study of Polynesian DNA, the museum said in a statement on April 28, 2022.(b)<
The existence of similarities between societies on the two landmasses is unquestionable; that there were ancient contacts between the two is more than probable, but it is not logical to view it as conclusive evidence of a mid-Atlantic location for Atlantis.
Many of Heyerdahl’s ideas came under attack, as outlined in a 2002 Smithsonian article(a).