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Deir El Medina

Just southeast of the Valley of the Queens is Deir el-Medina, the ruins of a village that housed the craftsmen and workers who dug and decorated the tombs and other Theban monuments.

It is a very important area to Egyptology, because it has revealed many of the facets of ordinary life in Egypt, and there are some wonderful tombs in its necropolis.

Deir el-Medina dates to the New Kingdom. Deir el-Medina, which in Arabic means "monastery of the city", was called Pa-demi by the workmen, simply, "the town," though it was also called Set Maa, "the place of truth." is one of the most well-preserved ancient settlements in all Egypt.

It lies near Thebes and was a highly skilled community of craftsmen who passed their expertise on from father to son.

The community included the workmen and their wives, children and other dependents, as well as coppersmiths, carpenters, potters, basket-makers, and a part-time physician.
The workers belonged to what we today would call the middle class, having no royal or noble connections, and much of their work was unglamorous.

These workers cut and prepared the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and in the Valley of the Queens, both on the West Bank at Thebes, and were administered directly by the vizier.
They were better educated and better paid than the vast majority of their contemporaries elsewhere in Egypt.

Because of their great skill the workers built their own personal tombs which were always beautifully decorated with paintings on the walls and ceilings. One such tomb is that of Sennedjem where paintings depict husband and wife worshiping the gods of the After-life.

 

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