Life Within the Five Walls. A Handbook to Deir el-Medina

Benedict G. Davies


For the greater part of the Egyptian New Kingdom, the settlement of Deir el-Medina was home to the families of the royal artisans who were tasked with the excavation and decoration of royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Making full use of the extensive material remains and the thousands of documentary texts that have been preserved both at the village and the royal work sites, this Handbook explores the methods used by the workmen in the design and creation of exquisitely-crafted tombs for their royal masters, as well as revealing the minutiae of everyday working life in the royal necropoleis of the Ramesside period. It also draws on this remarkable treasure trove of documentation in order to delve deeply into the colourful world of life within an ancient Egyptian community. It presents a society in microcosm, founded upon a highly developed system of personal piety and spirituality, an incredibly intricate and thriving network of personal business dealings, and a local legal system designed to dispense justice when the moral code was deemed to have been violated. Also featuring in this book are many well-known personalities whose actions — both good and bad — are indelibly etched on the history of the village. Comprising essays on over one hundred and twenty topics — each furnished with explanatory notes and a handy bibliography — this Handbook is intended to serve as an essential research and educational tool. It will appeal to a wide spectrum of users — including Deir el-Medina specialists, scholars of the social and economic history of ancient Egypt, and students alike.


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Imprint: Abercromby Press

ISBN: 978 1 912246 02 1

Pages: xix + 496 pp.

Format: Hardback

Published: 12/12/2018

Copyright: 2018