Ancient Egyptian

A Donkey Called Rameses
By Jenny Cromwell
In the village of Deir el-Medina, the home of the workmen who built the royal tombs of the Valley of the Kings, donkeys were big business. Read more here.

A Stingy Boss and a Lack of Beer
By Jenny Cromwell
Deir el-Medina in western Thebes was home to a community of skilled workers, who were responsible for constructing and decorating the royal tombs of the period, in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. One draftsman from the village, Prehotep, perhaps after a particularly hard shift, just wanted to relax with a beer. Read more here.

Bee Stories
By Jenny Cromwell
Whether it was for consumption, offerings to the gods, or for healing wounds, honey was important in ancient Egypt and so were bees. Read more here.

Caring for Cows in Ancient Egypt
By Jenny Cromwell
Tomb scenes and models show how important cattle were in ancient Egypt. From birthing to butchery, we see the experiences and uses of cattle. Read more here.

Death by Nile: Punishing Policemen at Deir el-Medina
By Jenny Cromwell
Three papyri from the village Deir el-Medina, dating to the late New Kingdom, reveal a shocking event: the punishment of two policemen – medjay – with death by drowning in the Nile. Read more here.

Ebony and Meretseger: On a New Kingdom Herd of Cows
By Jenny Cromwell
A sale document from the Fayum showed us that Roman soldiers living here named their cows, as discussed in a previous post. But, they were not the first people in Egypt to do so – Egyptians had been naming their cows for millennia beforehand! Read more here.

His Mind is Shrouded in Darkness
By Jenny Cromwell
Perhaps one of the best-known aspects of the Egyptian mummification process is that the brain was removed from the body and discarded. The brain’s function and importance were not understood. Instead, the heart was not only recognised as a beating organ that pumped blood, for the ancient Egyptian it was also the source of intelligence, emotions, and memory. Read more here.

Living (and Dying) in Interesting Times
By Luigi Prada
At the age of 21 years and 29 days, the sistrum-player Kheredankh died. A fragment of her funerary stela survives and is today housed in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London. Read more here.

Love in an Orchard
By Jenny Cromwell
The scene: young lovers escape the heat of the early afternoon soon for the shade of an orchard. Concealed among the shadows, sheltered under the trees, they lose themselves in each other. Nobody is present to witness their tryst, except for the trees. Read more here.

Mob Rule and Personal Relations in an Egyptian Village
By Jenny Cromwell
One night, an angry mob marched across the Egyptian village Deir el-Medina with the intention of beating up a woman. The woman’s crime? She had been sleeping with a married man for the past eight months. Read more here.

‘My heart, don’t act so stupidly!’: An Ancient Egyptian Love Song
By Jenny Cromwell
Picture the scene: from across the way, a young man spots a young woman who takes his breath away. She is exquisite, with dazzling eyes and sweet lips. Every part of her body is the epitome of feminine beauty. She is beyond compare. But his love is only from afar. Read more here.

“My milk being good from both breasts”
By Jenny Cromwell
In a Coptic letter from the 7th century CE, a wet nurse Maria expresses her grief and condolences over the death of a young girl. Read more here.

Nomads, Mercenaries, and Goldmines: Desert Politics in the Ramesside Period
By Julien Cooper
A cliché of Ancient Egyptian geography is that the deserts were empty wastes, possessing nothing but mineral wealth that the Egyptians were free to exploit. But we need to acknowledge that these regions, despite their aridity, were home to various indigenous peoples – nomads who are largely shrouded from the historic record. Read more here.

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