Deir El-Medina-a Workers Village

Deir El-Medina-a Workers Village

Deir El Medina was a village which was located in the hills on the west bank of the Nile River, opposite the city of Thebes, in the time of the New Kingdom. Deir El Medina was largely inhabited by highly skilled draftsmen, painters, and other craftsmen, mainly those who decorated the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, roughly between 1550 - 1100 BCE. Deir El Medina was a city which was built in an arid desert, near the tombs which were the local's workplace. Covered by sand after its residents disbanded about 3,000 years ago, much of the village remained intact for excavators to unearth in the 20th century. So well-preserved is the settlement that the walls of dwellings still exist. These people were also known to be the "better" educated people of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.

Deir el-Medina was founded sometime in the 18th Dynasty. Amenhotep I, c 1527-1506 BCE, may have been the ruler who first formed the corps of workmen who would soon become hereditary tomb-builders. He was the first ruler to build his tomb separately from his mortuary temple. He and his mother Ahmose-Nefertari were worshipped as patrons by the royal workmen in later times.

Under the reign of Tuthmosis I, 1506-1493 BCE, a wall of bricks stamped with his name was erected around the village, confirming that the community definitely existed at that time. Tuthmosis I himself is buried in the Valley of the Kings. At this time, the 18th Dynasty, the construction of his tomb was supervised by the overseer of construction at Karnak, who had also been involved in the erection of the two obelisks of Tuthmosis I at Karnak. Later on, the workmen came under the direct authority of the Vizier.

The chief evidence from the 18th Dynasty consists of the few tombs of this period, together with some pit-burials and a few stelae. The most important of the tombs is that of the foreman Kha, who died during the reign of Amenhotep III, 1390-1352 BCE. The sarcophagus and coffin of Kha's wife Meryt...

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