Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Digging away at a mystery: The wonders of Punt

After spending their entire careers picking at the ground, many archaeologists have no big find to show for it. Not Kathryn Bard, who in 2004 poked her hand into a dusty hole in Egypt and felt only empty space. The College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of archaeology had plunged her arm into an ancient unknown cave. Eventually Bard and her team discovered eight such caves at the site at Wadi Gawasis, each stashed with nautical supplies, among them coiled ropes, ship timbers, and limestone anchors, from roughly 4,000 years ago.

That might not seem like sexy stuff compared to mummies and pharaonic riches, but the cache of maritime wares proved that ancient Egyptians were seagoing and would go to extremes to reach the faraway land of Punt, with its coveted ebony, ivory, and frankincense. (Among the caves’ contents were two cargo boxes bearing the inscription “The wonders of Punt.”) The discovery also proved that Bard was an archaeologist to be reckoned with. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.

To read the entire interview with Kathryn Bard, click HERE

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