Monday 13 May 2024


In 1500 BC, the village of Deir-el Medina had a court, amphitheatre, police, doctors, and good literacy levels.

The settlement's ancient name was Set maat ("Place of Truth"), and the workmen who lived there were called "Servants in the Place of Truth". During the Christian era, the temple of Hathor was converted into a Monastery of Saint Isidorus the Martyr.

The site was excavated in 1922, by a team led by Bernard Bruyère. This work has resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented accounts of community life in the ancient world that spans almost four hundred years. There is no comparable site in which the organisation, social interactions, working and living conditions of a community can be studied in such detail.[2]

After Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in 1922, work began excavating (digging up) an entire village at Deir-el Medina, near the Valley of the Kings. This gave us the most detailed information we have of life in an Ancient Egypt from 1500 BC.

There were around 68 houses, made of mud-brick built on stone foundations. Letters, legal documents, statues and tombs tell us about family and working life. Many of the men and women could read. Women baked bread and brewed beer.

The village had a court of law and everyone had a right to a trial. There was a local police, the Medjay, to keep order. The people of Deir-el Medina also had medical treatment. They could get prescriptions of ingredients, prayers and spells from the physicians (doctors).

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