Egyptian Religion in Deir el-Medina

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The object of this paper is to look at the personal aspect of Egyptian religion in the workmen’s village of Deir el-Medina. The village was known by the ancient name set maat, “The Place of Truth”, and, the workers who resided there were called “servants” in The Place of Truth”. The Pharaoh Amenhotep I and his mother Ahmose Nefertari were patrons of the village. According to Pinch, religion was of great significance to the villagers, and much of what we know regarding personal, religious practices in ancient Egypt; has come from this site. Artefacts and New Kingdom literature have been found in abundance during excavations. It is these finds that have enabled us to gain an understanding of the importance of religion to the “common people”, and how they practised their personal religion. Texts and objects appear, to have been an important part of religious practice in the village; and this will be illustrated with three examples. The Stela of Neferabu to the god Ptah an ancestor bust and a pottery fragment depicting the god Bes.

Neferabu was a workman at Deir el-medina, he is known to have had two stela produced, one to the god Ptah and the other to the goddess Meretseger. The limestone Stela to Ptah was believed to have come from a cave sanctuary dedicated to Ptah; on the road leading from Deir el-Medina to the Valley of the Queens. It is rounded at the top and depicts ears, eyes, and a pair of raised arms, it is believed that these are meant to ensure Ptah; sees and hears the prayer inscribed on the stela. In the first register; Ptah is seated on a throne, in front of an offering table with bread and other oblations. The second register depicts Neferabu kneeling, with his arms raised opposite the text. The stela is...

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Available from:

Pinch, G. (1994) Magic in Ancient Egypt. London: The British Museum Press.

Pinch, G. (2002) Egyptian Mythology A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Robins, G. (2008) The Art of Ancient Egypt. London: The British Museum Press.

Stevens, A. (2003) “The Material Evidence for Domestic Religion at Amarna and preliminary remarks on Its Interpretation”. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. Vol.89. 143-168. Egypt Exploration Society.

Stevens, A. (2006) Private Religion at Amarna The Material Evidence. BAR International Series 1587. Oxford: Archeopress.

The British Museum. Accessed 28/02/11. Available online:

The Egypt Centre. Accessed 04/03/11. Available online
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