3d model and reconstruction
The worker’s town of Deir el-Medina was completely excavated in the last century: it is a large urban area with about 120 dwellings, surrounded by a fencing wall.
For the reconstruction, apart from the excavation data and information, there are also current data which allow for a comparison of the area with what it would have looked like in the past.
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Short history of
Deir el-Medina, on the west bank of the Nile in front of ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), is a small and narrow desert valley behind the hill of Qurnet Murrai. This was the village inhabited by workers artisans and artists who built and decorated the tombs of the Valley of Kings and those of the royal family members in the Valley of Queens between the XVIII and XX dynasty.
To the west of the village, at the foot of the Thebes mountains, are the rupestrian and semi-rupestrian tombs of the Ramesses period (XIX and XX dynasty) with the remains of their pyramid superstructures. In another necropolis dating back to the first half of the XVIII dynasty, located on the side of the Qurnet Murrai hill to the east of the village, there are rupestrian tombs without superstructures or decorations. To the north of the site there is the temple, almost perfectly preserved, dedicated to the goddess Hathor and built during the reign of Ptolemy IV (221-205 B.C.). It stands on the remains of a sanctuary founded during the XVIII dynasty, then expanded by the pharaohs of the XIX. The Arabic place name Deir el-Medina, “the town convent”, was erroneously attributed to the site by the Arabs who interpreted the Christian remains as being a monastery. The town to which the place name refers was founded by the Copts within the walls of the Medinet Habu temple. The village ruins were covered in sand and unknown to the modern world until the 19th century. The first person to excavate the site was the Italian Bernardino Drovetti, between 1811 and 1815, who was looking for Egyptian remains to sell to European museums. The site exploration became more scientific thanks to the German Karl Richard Lepsius who in 1845 discovered, visited and drew the Deir el-Medina tombs to include them in his great work Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopen. In 1905, the site concession was transferred to the Italian Ernesto Schiaparelli, who discovered some tombs and started freeing from the sand the houses in the northern section of the village. Finally, the concession was transferred to the Institut Français d’Archeologie Orientale (IFAO) and it was the French Bernard Bruyère who excavated the Deir el-Medina site from 1922 to 1951.
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