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Village Life in Ancient Egypt: Laundry Lists and Love Songs

Village Life in Ancient Egypt: Laundry Lists and Love Songs

Hardback

By (author) A.G. McDowell

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  • Publisher: Clarendon Press
  • Format: Hardback | 298 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 220mm x 25mm | 535g
  • Publication date: 30 December 1999
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0198149980
  • ISBN 13: 9780198149989

Product description

Deir el-Medina, the village of the workmen who built the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, is a uniquely rich source of information about life in Egypt between 1539 and 1075 BC. The abundant archaeological remains are complemented by tens of thousands of texts documenting the thoughts and activities of the villagers. Many of the texts are written on papyrus but most are on flakes of limestone which, being free and readily available, were used for even the most casual and temporary of records. They include private letters, administrative accounts, magic spells, records of purchases, last wills and testaments, laundry lists, and love songs. The value of these rare glimpses of daily life is greatly enhanced by the concentration of texts in one time and place. This book combines translations of over 200 of these texts spanning the entire range of preserved genres with stunning illustrations. The reader will, therefore, be able to experience the life of the villagers through their own words whilst viewing places known to each individual writer. Each text is introduced by a commentary that provides the context and explains the contribution each text makes to our understanding of Egyptian society at this period.

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Author information

Author has had a change of career course and is expected to graduate from the Yale Law School in 1998.

Review quote

... the anthology provides a well-balanced basis for further understanding of the intellectual legacy of Deir el-Medina. The incorporation of both lesser known texts and never published material fills a gap in the integrity of the textual material from the village of the craftsmen. Archiv orientalni Although the book under review is addressed to a broad non-professional audience as well as scholars, it does not lose its scientific erudition. In fact, the book represents an important contribution to the understanding of the unique nature and legacy of the community of workmen that once built the magnificent royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Archiv orientalni This is one of the best volumes on Deir el-Medina, and is an outstanding scholarly achievement, certain to prove useful to Egyptologist and historian alike. Bryn Mawr Classical Review The results of painstaking and meticulous research do not always make thrilling reading for the non-academic. The documentary evidence that provides the basis for this book, however, is by turns amusing and enlightening, and always entertaining. Those who already have some knowledge of the lives of the workmen of Deir el-Medina will enjoy further detailed insights provided by this book. Those who are new to the subject will benefit from the well-written and illustrated introduction and enjoy the lively commentaries. Ancient Egypt