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Deir El Medina Speech.

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Good morning/afternoon class,

Deir el-Medina is one of Egypt's archaeological gems. Located in a little valley on the west bank across from Luxor are the well-preserved foundations of a village that was used for about 500 years during the New Kingdom. Its inhabitants included the workmen and artisans who constructed the New Kingdom royal tombs in the nearby Valley of the Kings.

The name Deir el-Medina comes from the Arabic meaning "monastery of the town" because of the presence of a Ptolemaic temple nearby which was once used as a Coptic monastery.

I have chosen to speak to you about the architecture in deir el medina.

By its final stage approximately 70 houses stood within the village walls and 50 outside. Perhaps 600 people lived here by then. A wall surrounded the village approximately six meters high built of mud-brick. Gates were located at each end.

The villages of Deir El Medina made up a special government department under the vizier of Upper Egypt, and were a select largely hereditary group of scribes, quarrymen, stonemasons, artisans, and labourers, who created the final resting place for their divine rulers.

Most of the houses in Deir El Medina were built in a standard elongated design, 15 by 5 meters. They had rubble bases and mud brick structures, and shared walls like today's terrace housing. Each of these houses would have the following features. Down several steps from the street was an entrance room, with niches for offerings, stelae and busts. Often there were painted images, sometimes of the god Bes. A low bed-like structure has suggested to some archaeologists that the entrance room was also used as a birthing room.

A doorway led into the main room of the house, with raised dais by one wall, plastered and whitewashed. Against another wall may have been a small altar and offering table and niches for household gods. A small cellar was often located under this room, approached by a small flight of steps and covered by a wooden trapdoor.

Several small rooms may have led off the main room, possibly for sleeping, work or storage. At the rear was a small walled court, which served as the kitchen. It contained an oven for baking bread, a small grain storage silo, a container for water and grinding equipment. Another family shrine and another small cellar may also have been here.

A staircase led to the roof where the family would sleep or store goods. Windows were normally set high in the walls with a grill. Though the outside of the houses was whitewashed, traces of paintings have been found in the interior walls.




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