Houses of Deir-el-Medina

3d model and reconstruction

Houses of Deir-el-Medina

We show here a reconstruction of a typical house among the many found in the worker’s village of Deir el-Medina.

The houses were more or less the same in terms of plan; judging from the remains of the changes, they were probably mainly due to work done in the years after the latter were built. The items in the houses were found on site.

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Short history of

Houses of Deir-el-Medina

The 68 houses found within the walls of the worker and artisan village of Deir el-Medina cover an average surface of 72 m2, but the largest one are even 120 m2. they were presumably between 3 and 5 metres tall and surmounted by an accessible terrace. Their walls were made of raw bricks and stones and whitewashed; the floor was made of beaten earth, often covered by large mats which allowed the occupants to sit down to eat.

The plan of the houses generally consisted of four rooms accessible from the road, walking down one or two steps, and placed on a single axis. The door was made of wood and on the architrave and risers there were inscriptions and decorations with the names and titles of the owner. The first room had a sort of rectangular-shaped altar enclosed by walls, whose purpose is still unknown. This could be reached by raw brick steps and on the outside it was often decorated with images of the god Bes, protector of childbirth. The walls of this room were decorated with niches containing the ex-votos dedicated to the gods. The second room, the main room, had a wooden column with a stone base in the centre. There were also niches or false-doors which were used to pray the gods: the most popular were the sovereign Amenophis I and his mother Ahmose Nefertari, both deified and considered patron saints of the village. Along one of the room walls there was a low seat with two high armrests on the sides used to sit during meals or to receive guests. Below it, in a small cavity, the vases or hampers were kept containing food or objects for daily use. The fabrics and clothes were kept inside boxes or baskets. Leaving the room, you reached a corridor which led to one or two rooms, possibly bedrooms or closets, and to a staircase leading to the terrace. The last room in the house was the kitchen: it had an open ceiling and all the necessary accessories to cook: oven for bread, fireplace, jars, mill and mortar. Also traces of niches have been found with inscriptions dedicated to Renenutet and Meresger, the two deities responsible for food procurement.