The Worker's Village: Deir el Medina

Deir el Medina was a small settlement on the desert edge of western Thebes, established in the early Eighteenth Dynasty to house the artisans building the royal tombs in the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. The village reached its peak occupation during the Ramesside Period, when it was home to some 40-70 workmen and their families.

Due to the high percentage of literacy among the residents, the excavations at Deir el Medina yielded thousands of texts, most written in hieratic on fragments of limestone known as ostraka. These texts, including legal documents, literature, personal letters, and administrative records, provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of ordinary Egyptians during the New Kingdom.

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