Unique representations of the secretary bird identified in Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahari!

Among the products imported to Egypt in consequence of Hatshepsut’s Punt expedition, there is a big bird, whose identity used to puzzle scholars since the discovery of the reliefs in 1858. It has been suggested that it might have been a crane due to its relatively big size, but this identification could not have been confirmed due to the fragmentary state of preservation of this part of the wall. While re-examining the famous Punt reliefs of Deir el-Bahari our colleague Filip Taterka noted the presence of yet another previously unknown representation of the bird in question. The latter is more complete, thanks to which it is now possible to identify the mysterious creature as the secretary bird (Lat. Sagittarius serpentarius), a species endemic to Africa, which has a far-reaching consequences for the discussion on the exact location of the land of Punt. Moreover, the representations of the secretary bird of Deir el-Bahari are the only depictions of this creature known to date of the pharaonic period. For more information on Filip Taterka’s discovery see:

 

http://scienceinpoland.pap.pl/en/news/news%2C29964%2Cpolish-egyptologist-discovered-secretary-bird-temple-hatshepsut.html (press report in English)

http://naukawpolsce.pap.pl/aktualnosci/news%2C29918%2Cpolski-egiptolog-odkryl-w-swiatyni-hatszepsut-sekretarza.html (press report in Polish)

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