DNA extracted from an Egyptian baboon mummy has helped to unravel the mystery of a lost ancient city.
A new study that looked closely at the DNA revealed how Ancient Egyptians were likely trading with a city in today’s coastal area of Eritrea.Baboon’s were often used as ritual offerings in Ancient Egypt[/caption] Fragile ancient DNA from a single baboon was used in the study[/caption]
Eritrea is a country in East Africa and may be home to an ancient lost city called Punt, according to the study.
The mysterious city could help explain how baboons got to Egypt as they’re not thought to have originated there.
Geneticist Gisela Kopp was the leader of the new study.
She told Live Science: “There were these stories that they got them from Punt, this fabled, mysterious land.”
A city called Punt has been mentioned in Egyptian texts but it’s never been pinpointed on a map.
It’s thought the DNA extracted from the baboon mummies is the first hard evidence that Punt existed.
The mummies date back to a time between 1550 BC to 1070 BC.
Baboons were popular in Egypt at the time and were often sacrificed to the gods.
DNA helped to reveal a specific geographical location of where the monkeys came from.
The researchers wrote in their study: “This result, assuming geographical stability of phylogenetic clades, corroborates Greco-Roman historiographies by pointing toward present-day Eritrea, and by extension Adulis, as a source of baboons for Late Period Egyptians.
“It also establishes geographic continuity with baboons from the fabled Land of Punt, giving weight to speculation that Punt and Adulis were essentially the same trading centres separated by a thousand years of history.”
Of 10 baboons used in the study, only one baboon mummy was able to provide suitable DNA for testing.
It was comparable to modern-day baboons in Eritrea.
Punt is thought to be located near a better-known ancient port called Adulis.
It has been documented in ancient texts that Egyptians would go to Adulis to trade goods.
The researchers think Punt could have been in a similar area to where Adulis was later built.