Deir ALadineh (workers village)

Nothing can be farther from truth (except perhaps that aliens in space ships pressed a button and built the Giza complex, and other great monuments.)

The image of hundreds, perhaps thousands of toiling slaves, whipped by overseers, seems seared into the modern consciousness, and "everyone" is convinced that the despots who ruled Egypt with iron greedy fists must have built their wealth and glory on the bleeding backs of this tortured labor.
The more work being done on these villages sounds a clear message that, while they worked hard, these villages were made up of mostly free and willing citizens, doing their part to ensure the afterlife of their King

The site has yielded a wealth of textual material providing information about the way these people lived, their marriages, inheritances, divorces, how they sought legal redress, advice from the gods. In addition to papyri, large flakes of limestone were used by scribes as note pads. Thousands of these ostraca were found inscribed with letters, notes, records, and many other kinds of evidence concerning the lives of the men and their families,

Because currency did not exist in ancient Egypt the workmen were paid in kind. The chief payment consisted of monthly rations of emmer wheat, for flour, and barley, for making beer. The foremen and scribes received a higher salary than the ordinary workmen. Apart from the grain, the workers were given fish, vegetables and water, wood for fuel and pottery. There were also more irregular deliveries of dates, cakes and ready-made beer. Bonuses were issued on festival days or other special reasons. These bonuses might include extra provisions of normal supplies but also sesame oil, blocks of salt and natron, and meat. The workers supplemented their government income by making their own funerary equipment, including coffins, boxes and other items.
They paid each other for various items of manufacture, and the scribes charged for painting the required inscriptions. The craftsmen also accepted outside commissions, so that much of the furniture used in private burials at Thebes was made at Deir el-Medina

Several popular stories were also found at Deir el-Medina. One of the best known is the tale of Sinuhe, the political refugee in Palestine during the reign of Senusret I. Other tales include the allegorical tale Blinding of Truth by Falsehood, of which only one incomplete copy from Deir el-Medina survives, and still others concern the activities of the gods, such as the adventures of Set and Anat, and a complete papyrus of the Contendings of Horus and Set.
Fragments of the private library of Kenherkhepeshef have been found, including a dream book giving the interpretation of various dreams. Some examples are:
If a man sees himself in a dream, looking out of a window, good, it means the hearing of his cry by his god.
If a man sees himself in a dream, drinking a warm beer, bad, it means suffering will come upon him
On the back of the dream book, Kenherkhepeshef, copied out in his own hand parts of the victory hymn of Rameses II about the battle of Qadesh, and he also recorded one of his reports to the vizier on the progress of work on the royal tomb.

During the reign of Ramesses III The administrators were also corrupt, reducing the grain rations intolerably. A letter sent by the scribe Neferhotep around Ramesses' 25th regnal year states, "On and a half khar of gran (about 168 lbs) have been taken from us.we are dying, we cannot live"

The workmen then went on strike, in possibly the worlds first labor dispute. On the 21st day of the second month, in Ramesses 29th year, the scribe Amennakhte personally delivered a formal complaint about this situation to the Temple of Horemheb, part of the large administrative complex of Medinet Habu. Although a payment was forthcoming soon after, the poor conditions continued and in the sixth month of that year, the men of the two gangs stopped worked and marched together to one of the royal mortuary temples, perhaps Tuthmosis III, where they staged what would now be called a sit-in. They repeated this on the following day within the complex of another temple, possibly Ramesses II, and possibly a third, that of Seti I, until the mens complaints were recorded by the priests and sent across the river to Thebes. Only then were the rations owed finally distributed, but the events of this strike would be repeated before the reign of Ramesses III ended. Even in subsequent reigns the workers had to take action to receive any payments. In the reign of Ramesses XI, the scribe Dhutmose traveled south of Thebes to collect the grain from local temples and farmers for the community, taking along two door-keepers for protection

The community seemed to enjoy a good court case,Each man or woman conducted his or her own case, so lawyers fees were not required.

 in the 17th year of the reign of Ramesses III, and was an attempt by workman Menna to recover payment owed him for a pot of fat he had sold on credit. He was not at all deterred by the fact that the defaulter was the chief of police, Mentmose! Mentmose had promised to pay for the pot with barley, but when he defaulted, Menna reported him three times before the scribe of the Tomb, and finally in the third year, second month, of Ramesses IV, eighteen years later, Menna reported him once more. Mentmose swore to pay before the next month or receive 100 blows of a stick and perhaps pay double.
Menna also apparently sued Mentmose over the course of eleven years at another time over non-payment of some articles of clothing. In year 28 of the reign of Ramesses III, Menna also sued the water-carrier Tcha for selling him a defective donkey.

The court also dealt with theft. In year 6 of the reign of Seti II, c 1197 BCE, the workman Nebnufer son of Nakhy appeared before the court and accused the lady Heria of stealing a valuable tool which he had buried in his house. The court then asked the lady Heria if she had stolen the tool and she said no. She was then asked if she could and would swear by the Lord about the tool that she did not steal it. Heria immediately took the oath in the name of the god Amun.
However, that all seemed insufficient. The court sent a workman to search her house. He discovered not only the tool but ritual equipment stolen from the local temple. Lady Heria was thus found guilty not only of theft, but of blasphemy and perjury as well. She was declared worthy of death, and remitted to the vizier for final judgment. Unfortunately there is no final record of her actual fate.

The foreman Hay was brought before the tribunal, and four villagers attested that Hay had pronounced insults against Seti II, the current ruling Pharaoh. An attack on the person of the Pharaoh, even verbally, was considered of course sacrilege.Hays defense was that he was actually sound asleep at the alleged time of the incidents

Paneb and Hay were rivals, and Paneb had even been reported to have threatened to kill Hay, just as he had threatened his adopted fatherThey were then each sentenced to receive a hundred blows each for bearing false witness.


Deir el-Medina( the valley of the artisans -luxor -west bank)

Although the houses in the village varied in size they followed a fairly standard plan. 
The first room very often contained a rectangular
mud brick structure partially or fully enclosed except for an opening on the long side, 
which was approached by three steps. Bruyère found
remains of these structures in twenty eight of the sixty eight houses known to him at the site. 
The function of the bed-like constructions
is still being discussed by Egyptologists today. It has been suggested that
 they could have functioned as a birthing or nursing bed, or a
bed-altar to an ancestor cult. Fragments from several paintings 
from the exterior panels of some of these structures specifically involve
themes in female life: labour, childbirth and daily grooming. It is assumed that the villagers 
might have worshipped figures of deities or
supplicated a recently deceased relative within these bed-altars.

Recently it has been suggested (Brooker, 2009, p. 44-53) that the front rooms at Deir el-Medina
 were used as gardens. The suggestion
is supported by existence of several clay models of houses from other sites in Egypt displaying 
enclosed courtyards within the frontal
space. Archaeological evidence indicates that gardns were created on lower levels than the houses.
 The majority of floors in the front
rooms at Deir el-Medina's houses were at lower levels - some 40 to 50 cm lower than the street 
level. Textual evidence relating to the
front room and its purpose is limited, but Instructions and love poetry both suggest the importance 
of a private garden for an ancient
The second room was the  main living room and it stood higher than the first one. 
The flat roof of the room was supported by one or two
wooden pillars that rested on stone bases. By archaeological evidence it is widely
 acknowledged that the second room had a sacred
significance. Offering stelae were found near shallow rectangular and arched wall niches, 
which occur in several houses in the first and
second rooms. Limestone offering tables were found in their vicinity. In the second rooms of most houses false door dedications were
discovered. All this evidence seems to indicate that the second room, among other multiple settings,
 was used to connect with and gain
protection of those outside the bounds of ordinary moral existence.
Some houses had a small chamber off the second room, which seems to have been used both as a general storeroom and as a place where
someone might sleep. Beyond this room there was a kitchen and a staircase leading up to
 the roof, which was partially open to the air to
allow smoke to escape. Two cellars complete the dwellings.

Deir el-Medina( the valley of the artisans -luxor -west bank)

The village was inhabited by the community of workmen involved in the construction and
decoration of the royal tombs in both the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.
Together with their wives and families 

The settlement was founded sometime early in the 18th dynasty, although by which king
remains uncertain. Many bricks in the settlement's enclosure wall were stamped with the
name of Thutmosis I (around 1524-1518 BC), who was the 1st pharaoh to be buried in the
Valley of the Kings. However the reverence given to the previous king, Amenhotep I
(1551-1524 BC) and his mother, Ahmose-Nefertari, indicates that they might have been
instrumental in setting up the royal workforce at Deir el-Medina.

 We have little information on the earliest years of the community. Most of our knowledge about the  settlement is drawn from the extensive evidence dating to the 19th and 20th dynasties, when the village almost doubled in size.The first workforce was probably drawn from a number of places, possibly from other crews in the Theban area employed on temple building projects.
 The original town was enclosed within a thick mud-brick wall. As the first phase of the settlement's buildings from the beginning of the 18th dynasty was destroyed by fire, little is known about the layout of it. After the Amarna period, under the restoration of the king Horemheb (about 1321-1293 BC), the village expanded. The damaged houses were restored and new ones were built.
 During the 19th dynasty Deir el-Medina occupied an area some 132 metres long and 50 metres wide. The houses within the enclosure wall were all built in blocks - no space was left between them and two adjoining houses shared a wall.

 The village itself consisted of about 70 houses. They were divided by a main street. It ran from north to south with narrow houses on both sides of it. Archaeological excavation suggested that
this street was covered over, making the village one solid roofed community. Both
the floors of the houses and the central street were found to be covered with
layers of accumulated and well-trodden animal droppings of goats, sheep and pigs

Although the village was occupied for over four centuries, the evidence from excavations shows that the general plan of individual houses mostly follows the pattern established in the first phase of the construction of the settlement during the 18th dynasty. Also the ground level remained unchanged, which differs from other settlements, where successive generations built upon the remains of previous occupations.

 In the work men's village the house tenure was more strictly controlled - properties usually passed from father to son along with their trades and professions. Restricted by the village limits,occupants of the houses were not able to increase the size of their dwellings, as often happened in other places. Some forty to fifty houses were later built outside the enclosure wall to the north among or over earlier tombs. 

The community reached the highest numbers and greatest prosperity towards the end of the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1212 BC). From the end of the reign of Ramesses XI (1098-1070 BC), the Theban area was in turmoil and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings began to be plundered. Both the archaeological and textual evidence suggest that not later than by the early 21st dynasty, around the years 17-18 of Ramesses XI, the community of workmen had left Deir el-Medina and moved inside the walls of the nearby temple at Medinet Habu.

 Although the former inhabitants no longer lived in the village, they used to return to visit the family tombs and to worship at their temple of Amenhotep I. The abandoned houses were used for storage until they decayed beyond their usefulness. It is not clear what happened to the villagers after this period, but the site of Deir el-Medina continued to be used extensively for both religious and mortuary purposes until as late as the 8th century AD.

 In the 3rd century BC Ptolemy IV Philopater built a temple dedicated to Hathor and Maat at the
northern side of the former village, on the site of the earlier chapels and shrines and opposite the small
temple of Amun. During Christian era the temple was converted into a Coptic church. A monastery, or deir, was established there. Deir el-Medina thus survived its shift in function from a primarily habitational to a sacred and mortuary site.

The settlement's ancient name, "St-maat-hr-imenty-Wast", means "The Place of Truth, to the West of Thebes". The ancient villagers used to refer to their settlement as "pa-demi", "the town". The modern Arabic name Deir el-Medina, means "The Convent of the Town", is reflecting the fact, that during the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the village's Ptolemaic temple had been converted into a Christian church.

 The term "st-maat", usually translated as "the Place of Truth", repeatedly appears in tomb inscriptions and on funerary objects like stelae, coffins, shabtis, statues, pyramidions, on door-lintels and door jambs and also on wide variety of small objects, originating from the Theban necropolis, and in particular the region of Deir el-Medina. A vast group of titles, demoting employees "in the Place of Truth" has been identified in the documents of the 19th and  20th dynasties.

 The earliest example of the expression "st-maat" is in chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead,which
originated during the dynasties 13-17 (2nd Intermediate Period, about 1782-1633 BC). It reads
"I have not committed sins in the Place of Truth". The term can generally be applied to any place locality, which is sacred or holy ground. It was not only used within the locality of Thebes. There are examples of the term being used at Memphis, Amarna or Abydos. The term cannot be translated with a single expression as it has not got a single meaning. Depending on the context, the meaning of "st-maat" covers the beyond, the cemetery, a tomb, the king's tomb or even a workshop (in Western Thebes). In Theban documents, "st-maat" was used with the addition of "hr-imnty-Wast", meaning "to the West of Weset" (Weset being the ancient Egyptian name for Thebes, modern Luxor). Inscriptions can be found in both hieroglyphic and hieratic writings.


13 Things that Egyptians Were the First to Create

Egypt has a glorious past, its people descended from a civilization that was once the most intellectually and technologically advanced in the world. Because we all sometimes need a reminder, here’s a quick round-up of successful inventions that were created by Egyptians before any other civilization.

Eye makeup (eyeshadow and eyeliner) – 4000 BCE


Egyptians were among the first to popularize the use of eye makeup. Some of the earliest makeup palettes date back to circa 5000 BCE, the most common colors being green (made out of malachite, a green carbonate of copper) and black (made out of galena, an ore of lead).

System of writing (pictographs) – 3200 BCE

Composed of around 500 symbols, Egyptian hieroglyphics date back to 3200 BCE and represented the first writing system based on illustrated representations of words or sounds.
With the exception of Mesopotamian cuneiform, which emerged independently around 3200 BCE, the innovation of writing in Egypt predated other civilizations’ advancement by thousands of years. The next civilization to invent writing would be the Chinese in 1200 BCE.

Papyrus paper – 3000 BCE

Made from the papyrus plant indigenous to the banks of the Nile river in Egypt, ancient Egyptians were the first among all civilizations to use these thin, paper-like stationary for writing. By 1000 BCE, papyrus papers were being exported out of Egypt for use all over West Asia as they were more convenient than clay tablets.

365-day calendar – 4000 BCE

Ancient Egyptians originally used a calendar year of 360 days, split into 12 months of 30 days each. It wasn’t until around 4000 BCE that they added an extra five days to keep up with the solar calendar, for a total of 365 days. In 238 BCE, Egyptians even invented the leap year. The 365-day calendar, including the leap year, is still in use in most parts of the world today.

Ox-drawn plow – 2500 BCE

The banks of the Nile were once fertile agricultural sites, where ancient Egyptians would grow wheat and a variety of vegetables. The ox-drawn plow made irrigation much easier and farming much more lucrative.

Breath mints

Sadly, ancient Egyptians did not have the best teeth in the ancient world (likely due to the sand residue left in food products by rock grinders), as evidenced by the presence of rotting teeth and terrible tooth abscesses in the mouths of mummies. To cover the smell, Egyptians became the first civilization to invent breath mints, which were originally pellets made out of cinnamon, myrrh, frankincense and honey.

Shaving and haircuts (the clean-cut look)

In ancient Egypt, hair removal for both men and women was an established custom in society. Body hair was associated with barbarianism and uncleanliness, whereas being clean and well-groomed was a sign of sophistication. When the Romans invaded, they looked down on the practice as they believed that body hair was a sign of masculinity, and a man without body hair must be somehow disabled.

The pin-tumbler door lock – 4,000 BCE

A hollowed-out bolt in the door is connected to pins that can be manipulated with the insertion of a key. These locks were much more advanced than those invented years later in Rome, which were built into the door and much easier to pick.

Toothbrushes and toothpaste – 5000 BCE

Ancient Egyptians may have had bad teeth due to the rock debris in their food, but at least they tried to take care of themselves. They were the first to used toothbrushes and toothpaste (made from eggshells and ox hooves) to clean their teeth as a regular ritual.

Reed pens and black ink – 3200 BCE

Not only were ancient Egyptians the first to invent papyrus paper and writing, they were also the first to invent black ink and popularize the use of reed pens. The ink was made from water, soot and vegetables gums.


Wigs were used widely in ancient Egypt by both men and women as either a fashion statement or to hide baldness. They were originally made from human hair and later from date palm fibers.

High heels – 3500 BCE

The first images depicting the use of high heels in Egypt date back to 3500 BCE. High heels were typically worn by nobility, both male and female, while common people would walk barefoot. The only exception were butchers, who’d wear high heels in order to walk over pools of blood from animal carcasses.
 Read More at www.egyptraveluxe.com

10 Unbelievable Facts About Ancient Egyptians

Society in Egypt has changed quite a bit since its ancient predecessors thousands of years ago. From popular misconceptions to bizarre practices, you won’t believe these facts we found about ancient Egyptians:

1. Ancient Egyptian children often had shaved heads and were naked in public until puberty. The hot weather and lack of AC made clothes non-essential.

2. Both men and women wore makeup in ancient Egypt. Eye shadow was extremely popular, especially in green and black. Originally, make-up was thought of as sunscreen and it was believed to possess healing powers. Although many scientists today believe the lead-based paints fought off eye infections, they may have also resulted in lead poisoning.

3. Experts believe that Cleopatra wasn’t ethnically Egyptian – she was actually Macedonian Greek. Although she was born in Egypt, her lineage traces back to Ptolemy I, the Macedonian leader left in charge of Alexandria after Alexander the Great’s conquest.

4. Ramses the Great had one principal queen, more than five “major” wives, an unknown number of concubines and over 150 children.

5. Pharaoh Pepi II warded off flies by covering naked slaves with honey and having them sit nearby in a room.

6. People always talk about how women in ancient Egypt were treated as equal to men. That’s not entirely true. Although women in ancient Egypt received more legal and economic equality (freedom to buy/sell property and remarry/divorce their husbands) than Greeks, they still were not viewed as the social equivalents of men.

7. Although artwork depicts ancient Egyptians as slender and fit, that was not an accurate representation of society. A standard diet high in alcohol, bread and sugar left many Egyptians (especially royals) overweight. Modern evidence shows that royal Egyptians often had weight-related health problems and even suffered from diabetes.

8. There is still controversy surrounding King Tut‘s cause of death. Most experts seem to agree that the “boy king” probably died from some kind of horrific injury.
Many believe he died from injuries sustained in a chariot accident. But did you know there’s also a theory that he was killed by a hippopotamus?
Some Egyptologists believe that “one of the most likely causes for this wound would have been a bite from a hippopotamus.” For example, Dr. Benson Harrar, an Egyptology professor at a California State University, has made a strong case for a “crushing injury” as the cause of King Tut’s death and pointed to the young Pharaoh’s love for hippo hunting to support his theory that King Tut died from a hunting accident involving a hippo.

9. Experts believe that most families in ancient Egypt owned at least one cat. Worshiped in ancient Egypt, cats were believed to bring good luck.

10. The bandages of just one mummy, unwrapped, run as long as 1.6 km!
 Read More at www.egyptraveluxe.com


TT100, the tomb of REKHMIRE at Thebes - Luxor - Egypt

Rekhmire was seated at the end of the wall, facing left. This has been completely effaced and the area where he was covered with red paint; we recognize the faint trace at his feet as a goose of Amun . Above him is a short text informs us that Rekhmire is "in session to  judge
between the poor and the rich in the same way,

Rekhmire stood in a large room whose columns are inscribed halfway up with the name of Thutmose - Menkheperre "beloved of Maat".

The artist has separated the people admitted in the courtroom from those outside 

 Before the vizier are four mats each supporting ten elongated objects. One thinks, of course, of the 40 leather rolls bearing the text of the laws or these are the  batons of authority which serve the assessors.

The Grandees of the Southern Ten are placed before him on the right and left, with as many scribes, 40 people in total. If the petitioners are treated with respect by the ushers in and out of the room, it is not the same for those respondents if their accounts have not been found satisfactory.
 Outside the building, at the top and bottom of the scene, two messengers rush to the courtroom. They carry in one hand a plant and the other a stick, while the official who greets them has only a stick.


TT100, the tomb of REKHMIRE at Thebes -Luxor - Egypt


a large inscription of 45 lines, damaged by numerous pieces falling off: which gives the autobiography of the Vizier
It was written in hieroglyphics from a hieratic original.

His Duties

Order of Precedence
When a person speaks to another, it must be done according to their social level (literally: when one (person) that addresses another (person) it must be (done) with every man according to his rank.

Reports about warehouses
He will report the sealing of warehouses and their opening at the right time. He will report on everything that enters into or leaves the territory of the Residence, when they come in and they go out,

Protocol for interviews with the King

Judgment of a dishonest magistrate

Do not allow any magistrate to have power over a decision (made) in his office. If a complaint happens against one of the judges who is in his office, he (the Vizier) will ensure that this leads the judge into the courtroom. It is the Vizier who must punish (him) according to his crime. Do not allow that any magistrate has power over punishment in his office. One will make a report on every judgment relating to the office he formerly occupied.

Assistants to the Vizier

The register of criminals

Consultation of documents

Arable land and cadastral land
As for any witness that the Vizier sends to him concerning any complainant, he must ensure that that person returns to him. But as for anyone who complains about the fields, it is that person who will take care of it (literally: it is up to him to entrust it)

Districts Advisors
Moreover, it is he who leads the district councilors, it is them who send to him. They will submit a report on the state of their districts. It is to him that one must bring every deed of gift, and it is he who seals them.

Arable lands and demarcation
It is he who makes the award of any terrain.

Sending assistants
It is he who sends each assistant of the royal domain who is sent to Governors and district Governors. It is he who sends out any messenger, any expedition from the royal domain.

Appointment of, and role of Officials
It is he who dictates who is a member of the (literally is in) the magistrate colleges of Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt,

Management of the army
It is he who organizes the gathering of troops, .

Interviews of officials
And he make sure that every official (literally any function) from the highest to the lowest in the Vizier's office greets his counterpart.

Management of those responsible for major works
It is he who sends (men) to cut trees according to what was announced in the royal domain. It is he who sends the members of the district council to create channels in the entire country. It is to him the Governors and district Governors send to arrange labour for plowing and harvesting. It is he who appoints the director of the police in the office of the royal domain. It is he who decides who judges Governors and district governors that come in his name from Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

Operating reports
One will make a report about all (judicial) cases. One will do a report about the state of the fortresses of Upper Egypt and any imprisonment of someone who will flee [.] It is he who raises taxes in each district, he shall judge for them.

State owned land
It is he who sends out teams of cadastral scribes to deal with the Lord's affairs. That is what is judged about all the fields of the Nome documents must be found in his office. It is he who establishes the boundaries for each prefecture (decides) of all pastures, all divine offerings and everything of value.

Investigation and jugdment
It is for him that each public proclamation is made, it is he who listens to every complaint. [...] When a man goes to court with his fellow man.
 It is he who appoints one to be appointed to the audience hall.
 It is in the royal domain that anyone who should be questioned should come to him.
 It is he who listens to every decree. It is he who hears about the lack of any divine offering.
 It is he who collects all taxes as returned from whoever gives him.

TT100, the tomb of REKHMIRE at Thebes -Luxor - Egypt


monkeys, a basket of skins (top right), two bundles of reed arrows, a bag with? Ten peculiar pieces of wood, products of the nebes tree: ten arches made of its wood, three skins filled with a fruit paste and two baskets containing cakes made with those same fruits.

Register 2 ( more nebes tree fruit, a basket of "skins", pigeons in cages

Register 3  : this time there are boxes full of textiles, gold and silver rings
 (these are white,  et des colliers comportant des perles d'or.
and collars having gold beads 

Register 4  : the stack of objects is replaced by a balance with which precious metals are being weighed. A scribe carefully notes the results. The scene is very damaged.

Register 5 : is in very poor condition. Davies describes bags, reed mats, cordage and ten millstone wheels made of hard red stone.

 Note that there are no fish, goats or pigs shown (not food of the elite) and that the only birds represented are pigeons

TT100, the tomb of REKHMIRE at Thebes-Luxor -Egypt

The tax collectors are placed to the right of the registers, separated from the payers by stacks of contributions