Workmen’s marks at Deir el-Medina and the Valley of the Kings


Mødedato: Torsdag d. 24/11 2016, kl. 17.30

Mødetid er kl. 17.20, døren låses!

Antikmuseet på Aarhus Universitet,
Victor Albecksvej, Århus C, bygning 414

v. Daniel Soliman, Post-doctoral research fellow, ToRS, Københavns Universitet

The workmen who constructed the tombs of the royal family during the New Kingdom are very well attested. Much of their daily lives can be reconstructed thanks to the many objects discovered in and around the houses and tombs in the village where they lived, the site of Deir el-Medina.

In addition, a very large number of textual data about the tomb builders and their work has survived on ostraca from the village and the construction sites in the Valley of the Kings. The workmen therefore belong to one of the most studied communities of ancient Egypt.

It is less well known that every individual workman possessed a personal sign, an identity mark, which was often used as an indicator of personal property. Series of these identity marks were also inscribed on ostraca. Such ostraca were poorly understood by Egyptologists, but recent research has revealed much about the meaning and the date of these pieces.

This talk will discuss the usage of the marking system in the community of Deir el-Medina, and highlight the importance of the marks for the study of the construction of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Particularly interesting are the objects with identity marks from the Eighteenth Dynasty, a period which is less well documented.