Workmen's Village


This is the name (another being the Eastern Village given to an isolated settlement tucked into a south-facing valley in the low plateau that runs westwards from the cliffs and divides the eastern part of the Amarna plain in two. It was partially excavated in 1921 and 1922, and saw further excavation between 1979 and 1986. Its relatively sheltered location has preserved many of its buildings to a greater height than is common elsewhere at Amarna and its distance from the cultivation has improved the conditions under which organic materials are preserved. The isolation also means that the complete archaeological print of a human community is preserved on the desert.


Aerial photograph of the Workmen’s Village site, towards the south-east. Note the faint lines of the ancient roadways in the foreground
Aerial photograph of the Workmen’s Village site, towards the south-east. Note the faint lines of the ancient roadways in the foreground

A section of one of the ancient roadways on the hill above the village
A section of one of the ancient roadways on the hill above the village

General map of the Workmen’s Village site, showing the main areas. General map of the Workmen’s Village site, showing the main areas.

The main parts of the site are:

Plan of the 1921/1922 excavation within the walled village. Plan of the 1921/1922 excavation within the walled village.

The walled village at the end of the 1922 excavation. The walled village at the end of the 1922 excavation.


View of the interior of the central part of the house Gate Street 8.

View of the interior of the house Gate Street 8.
View of the interior of the house Gate Street 8.

Fallen roofing material and a wooden shutter to a window or cupboard, Gate Street 8.
Fallen roofing material and a wooden shutter to a window or cupboard, Gate Street 8.

Reconstructed life in a house, using original objects (1922 photograph).
Reconstructed life in a house, using original objects (1922 photograph).

Outline painting of a procession of figures of the god Bes, on the wall of the front room of house Main Street 3 (1921 photograph).
Outline painting of a procession of figures of the god Bes, on the wall of the front room of house Main Street 3 (1921 photograph).

Grass roofing material in the debris of house Gate Street 11 (1921 photograph).
Grass roofing material in the debris of house Gate Street 11 (1921 photograph).

The kitchen of house East Street 10 (1922 photograph).
The kitchen of house East Street 10 (1922 photograph).

The kitchen of house Gate Street 11 (1921 photograph).
The kitchen of house Gate Street 11 (1921 photograph).

Reconstructed life in a street of the Workmen’s Village (1922 photograph).
Reconstructed life in a street of the Workmen’s Village (1922 photograph).

View of the zir-area during excavation in 1983.
View of the zir-area during excavation in 1983.

Animal pen (of the no. 400 group), with limestone trough.
Animal pen (of the no. 400 group), with limestone trough.

Animal pen (of the no. 300 group) during excavation.
Animal pen (of the no. 300 group) during excavation.

Wooden poles fixed across the entrance of one of the animal pens of the no. 400 group.
Wooden poles fixed across the entrance of one of the animal pens of the no. 400 group.

Group of bristles identified as belonging to pig.
Group of bristles identified as belonging to pig.

Modern pig in an Egyptian village (El-Bayadiya).
Modern pig in an Egyptian village (El-Bayadiya).

Chapel 521 (1921 photograph).
Chapel 521 (1921 photograph).

Chapel 522 (1921 photograph).
Chapel 522 (1921 photograph).

The Main Chapel, after excavation in 1984.
The Main Chapel, after excavation in 1984.

The shrines at the back of the Main Chapel.
The shrines at the back of the Main Chapel.

Steps and offering-place in the Main Chapel.
Steps and offering-place in the Main Chapel.

Fragments of painted wall-plaster from the Main Chapel, depicting the face of a woman.
Fragments of painted wall-plaster from the Main Chapel, depicting the face of a woman.

Reconstruction (by F. Weatherhead) of fragments of a vulture wall-painting from the Main Chapel. Reconstruction (by F. Weatherhead) of fragments of a vulture wall-painting from the Main Chapel.


Wooden top to a police standard depicting a figure kneeling beneath an image of the god Wepwawet on a stand. Found in the Sanctuary of the Main Chapel.
Wooden top to a police standard depicting a figure kneeling beneath an image of the god Wepwawet on a stand. Found in the Sanctuary of the Main Chapel.

The reverse side of the wooden standard, depicting two figures running.
The reverse side of the wooden standard, depicting two figures running.

Aerial photograph of the cemetery above the Workmen’s Village. It is marked by the sand-filled pits of robbers.
Aerial photograph of the cemetery above the Workmen’s Village. It is marked by the sand-filled pits of robbers.

References

Peet, T.E. and C.L. Woolley, 1923. The City of Akhenaten, Part I. Excavations of 1921 and 1922 at El-‘Amarneh. London, Egypt Exploration Society, Chapters III and IV.

Kemp, B.J., ed., 1984. Amarna Reports I. Occasional Papers 1. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

Kemp, B.J., ed., 1985. Amarna Reports II. Occasional Papers 2. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

B.J. Kemp, ed., 1986. Amarna Reports III. Occasional Publications 4. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

B.J. Kemp, ed., 1987. Amarna Reports IV. Occasional Publications 5. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

Kemp, B.J., 1987. The Amarna Workmen's Village in retrospect. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 73, 21–50.

Samuel, D., 1999. Bread making and social interactions at the Amarna Workmen's Village, Egypt. World Archaeology 31, 121–44.

Map


Map of the Amarna desert, showing the ancient road system and the locations of the Workmen’s Village and Stone Village
click to enlarge

   

Website first posted September 2000; last updated October 2017 | enquiries concerning website: email bjk2@cam.ac.uk