Polish Egyptologist discovers depictions of secretary bird

Depictions of secretary bird were discovered in Temple of Hatshepsut Photo: Ad Meskens/Wikimedia Commons

Dr Filip Taterka from the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) has discovered the first-known depictions of the raptor secretary bird (Latin: Sagittarius serpentarius), in the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el-Barari, in Egypt.

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"These are the only images of the secretary bird from the times of the pharaohs, the secretary bird can therefore be called the rarest of all things brought back to Egypt from trips to Punt," said Dr. Filip Taterka.

The reliefs are part of the so-called Portico of Punt decorated with extensive representations of Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s expedition to a distant land, presumably located in Africa or the Arabian Peninsula.

The ancient “shorthand” provided by the secretary bird sheds a new light on the potential location of Punt, because the bird is native to Africa.

The Temple of Hatshepsut (circa 1473 - 1458 BC) is located near Luxor in Upper Egypt. It was partly built into the rock face and consists of three terraces connected by ramps and is topped with porticos.