Stela dedicated to divine cats of Re and
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
Black ink, traces of preliminary sketch in red
A round-topped stela of painted limestone,
in the lower register depicting an
unidentified couple worshiping "The Cat of
the god Re", and "The Great Cat, the
peaceful one, in his perfect name of Atum"
- two aspects of the same solar divinity,
both shown facing each other in the upper
Inv. no. AN1961.232
Former Armytage collection
The page was last modified on July 1st 2017
The page was compiled by Lenka Peacock using the sources below.
I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Liam McNamara, Assistant Keeper for
Ancient Egypt and Sudan, and Amy Taylor, Senior Picture Library and Publications
Assistant, both of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of
Oxford, for their kind comments and assistance with the updating of the page.
All the photographs are reproduced with kind permission of the Ashmolean Museum,
University of Oxford.
The photographs were taken by Lenka Peacock, Jana Tejkalová, Philippa Robins and
Su Bayfield.

2. Museum's own labels
3. McDowell, A.G.: Village life in ancient Egypt : laundry lists and love songs
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1999.
4. J. Vander d'Abbadie, loc. cit. pt. 3, pp. 22-27, pls. IX-XIII.
5. Parkinson, Richard: Cracking codes : the Rosetta Stone and decipherement
London : British Museum Press, 1999.
6. Van Heel, Koenraad Donker : Mrs. Naunakhte & Family: The Women of Ramesside Deir al-Medina
Cairo : The American University in Cairo Press, 2016
7. Davis, Benedict G.: Genealogies and personality characteristics of the workmen in the Deir
el-Medina community during the Ramesside period. Thesis submitted in accordance with the
requirements of the University of Liverpool for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Liverpool : University of Liverpool, February 1996.
8. Simpson, William Kelly: The literature of ancient Egypt : an anthology of stories, instructions,
stelae, autobiographies, and poetry
New Haven : Yale University, 2003.
The Egyptian collections of the Ashmolean Museum are one of the most extensive in England.
Objects from all periods of Egyptian civilisation from prehistory to the 7th century AD are
represented in the collection. Although several objects were part of the original collection,
most holdings come from British excavations in Egypt between 1880s and 1930s.
Oxford University excavations in Southern Egypt and Sudan from 1910 added a substantial set of
Nubian material. The Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan houses a vast collection of papyri,
ostraka, writing boards and wooden labels, including the Bodleian Library's ostraka collection.
After a major redevelopment the Museum opened the new Ancient Egypt and Nubia galleries on November
the 26th 2011. Most of the newly displayed objects from Deir el-Medina are displayed in a secluded
part of the gallery.
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The Ashmolean Museum,
Driving a bull to pasture
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
A figured ostrakon of a herdsman dressed in a pleated
linen kilt walks behind a "neg" - bull. In his left hand he
holds a short crook and the end of a double tether
which was probably attached to the bull's nose ring. In
his raised hand he perhaps holds another crook. Above
the bull's back is an inscription in hieratic. Above are a
pair of copulating goats and two kids.
Inv. no. AN1938.915
Former Nina de Garis Davies collection
Bibl. J. Vander d'Abbadie, loc. cit. pt. 3, pp. 22-27,
pls. IX-XIII.
List of receipts for various commodities
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty, about 1213-1204 BC
Fragment of a papyrus inscribed in hieratic
script with accounts concerning the crew of
workmen and sundry individuals. It lists
deliveries of food, tools, wood, and
metalworking carried out for them. Most of
the entries begin with a date in the season of
peret (winter).
Inv. no. AN1960.1283
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
[Reporting by] the workman Wen-nefer (and) the
work[man...saying] there be given to me the hut (of)
my father [...] in the presence of:
the chief workman Khonsu
the deputy [...]
[...] And they said to me, "Give him grain [...for the
construction] that he made in it." List of the silver
[given to him...]
box: 2 deben, 3 oipe of it belonging to me
[...from his?] wood
And I made for him a staff [...from?] his wood
and [...] hen-box, X deben [...]
(Translation from McDowell,1999,180)
Amennakht's poem ostrakon
From Deir el-Medina
20th dynasty
Height: 18 cm
Limestone ostrakon inscribed in hieratic by
scribe Amennakht with two poems composed by
him. This side contains a poem praising the city
of Thebes and expressing his longing for it:
bread there is finer than goose-fat doughnut,
her water is sweeter than honey..."
The red
dots above the lines are "verse points", which
were used to indicate rhythmic units in literary
texts, possibly similar to line-breaks in a poem.
Inv. no. ANAsh.H.O.25
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
"The draughtsman Hor-Min to the father, the scribe Hori [...] in life, prosperity and health, in the
praise of Amen-Re, King of Gods.
To the effect that: I say to Amen-Re, King of Gods, Mut, Khonsu, and the ennead of Karnak, Grant
that you be healthy! Grant that you live! Give to you strength, health and happiness!
Further: when my letter reaches you, you should send for the man who will go to receive the grain
(for?) the donkey. Look, the god's-father of the temple of Hathor wrote me saying: 'Come to receive
And you should write to reason with the captains so they will promote the servant of yours, so that he
will speak with the leaders, to call up that servant of yours, so that he may give me a hand with the
drawing: I am alone, since my brother is ill. Those of the right side have carved a chamber more than
the left-side. Now, he will consume my rations with me.
Now, witness a commission of Pharaoh, l.p.h., like this one when men are doubled for it! Now when I told
it [to] the High Priest, the captains said to me, 'We will bring him up (to the work site). It is not the
responsibility of the High Priest.' So they said: Write [...] As for everything my mouth said, I will
double it, and more."
Translation from McDowell,1999,215

The draftsman Hormin (Harmin) (i), son of Hori (ix), appears in several ostraka coming from the reign of
the successors of Ramesses III. There is some evidence that he could have been active early in the
reign of Ramesses IV. He definitely occurs later in year 4 of Ramesses IX. Hormin probably survived
until year 17 of the same reign. (Davis,1996,204). Hormin was married to Meramundua (i) with whom he
had 2 daughters - Henutneteru and Isis, and a son named Hori. They are all named in Inherkau's tomb
TT359. It is thought that Meramundua could have been Inherkau's daughter or more likely his cousin.
Hieratic ostrakon
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
20th dynasty
The ostrakon is inscribed with hieratic signs,
numbers and unusual marks. These marks probably
represent personal names, and the numbers
record the amount of items (probably pots) made
by or delivered to them.
Inv. no. ANAsh.H.O.1093
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
Stela of Amenpahapy
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
20th dynasty
This stela was dedicated by the Servant in the
Place of Truth Amenpahapy. The six serpents
represent the cobra-goddess Meretseger. The stela
may have been placed in a
rock-cut shrine along the
path from Deir el-Medina to the Valley of the Kings.
Inv. no. AN1945.15
Gift of Nina de Garis Davies
Dispute over a hut
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
Mid 20th dynasty, Ramesses III
Fragmentary limestone ostrakon with a hieratic inscription recording the resolution of a dispute over a
hut inherited by the workman Wennofer. The writer of the text, Wennofer, claims ownership of his
father's hut, which at the time was being lived in by another workman, who also claimed rights to it.
They both went to see the chief workman Khonsu and his deputy to settle their dispute. It was
decided that Wennofer had the right to the hut but that he should compensate the other party for any
improvements made while he lived there. There follows a list of items made in payment.
The inscription is not written in ink. It is unusual in being cut into the limestone and filled with blue
frit, a technique used for formal hieroglyphic inscriptions. Perhaps Wennofer set this ostrakon into a
wall of the disputed hut like a stele to publicize his claim to the building.
Inv. no. ANAsh.H.O.655
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
Photo by Jana Tejkalová 2008
Photo by Jana Tejkalová 2008
Photo by Jana Tejkalová 2008
Photo by Jana Tejkalová, 2008
Photo by Lenka Peacock, 2006
Photo by Philippa Robins 2010
Figured ostrakon
Place of excavation: Thebes
The head of a bubalis (Antelope bubalus)
Inv. no. AN1938.913
Bought in Thebes
Ex Nina de G. Davies collection
Presented in memory of Kate Griffith
Photograph by Su Bayfield
"Identity marks and their relation to writing in New Kingdom Egypt" is a
PhD research programme, planned for May 2011 - August 2015, at University of Leiden under
leadership of Dr. Ben Haring. The objectives of the research are to explain the shapes and nature of
the marks themselves, and their affinity with writing and to assess precisely how the marks were used
in the workmen’s community – in addition to writing.
The international conference "Pot marks and other non-textual marking systems from prehistory to
present times" was held in Berlin on December 7-9, 2012. The main focus of the event, organized by
the Department of Egyptology and Northeast African Archaeology of Humboldt University Berlin within
the framework of a research linkage between Humboldt University and Warsaw University, funded by
the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, was on
pot marks in Ancient Egypt, but other marking systems
from Egypt and elsewhere were discussed as well.
The Satire of the Trades ostrakon
From Deir el-Medina
19th - 20th dynasty
Limestone ostrakon inscribed in hieratic with part
of a text known as The Satire of the Trades. A
father took his son to scribal school and praised
the scribe's profession by comparison with more
menial types of work.
Inv. no. HO356
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
Figured ostrakon
From the Valley of the Kings
New Kingdom
Drawing of a left-ward facing profile of a head of a
king. The eye is drawn frontally. The king's head is
adorned with a short wig with an uraeus on his
forehead. There is a collar around his neck. This is a
quick but skillful sketch in black ink.
Inv. no. AN1933.804
Sayce bequest
Report of a visit ostrakon
From Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
Black ink
Report of a visit by the Vizier to inspect
the work of the crew.
Inv. no. HO118
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
Model letter
From Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
Black ink
Official letters often followed a set
formula. This model letter to a Vizier
probably served as a template for regular
reports sent by the village scribe.
Inv. no. HO79
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
Mose's letter
From Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
Black ink
Letter from the village scribe Mose to
Pesiur, Vizier under King Ramesses II
(around 1279-1213 BC), concerning
various commissions.
Inv. no. HO71
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
Letter to the king
From Deir el-Medina
New Kingdom
Black ink
Hieratic letter to the king reporting that
the work on the royal tomb is progressing
according to the plan.
The maintenance of regular lines of
communication between the work force at
the tomb and the central administration
was one of the duties of the village
Inv. no. HO164
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
Account of grain deliveries
From Deir el-Medina
New Kingdom
Red ink
Hieratic account of grain rations
delivered to the village, brought
from the temple and the king.
Inv. no. 298
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
Absence record
From Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
Black ink
Two fragments of a report written
in hieratic recording the absence
of two workmen from the crew due
to scorpion bites.
Inv. no. HO174
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
List of workmen
From Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
Black ink
Limestone ostrakon inscribed in hieratic script with a list
of workmen active in the late 19th dynasty. They are
arranged in two groups - the left and the right - in
order of their rank within the crew.
Inv. no. HO57
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
Model of a sandal
From Deir el-Medina
New Kingdom
Black ink
A model of a wooden sandal, inscribed "Servant of the Place
of Truth in the west of Thebes".
Inv. no. AN1952.206
Ex Griffith collection
Stele of Khaemope
From Biban el-Muluk
19th - 20th dynasty
Triangular stele with an inscribed column of a hieroglyphic
script belonging to the "Servant of the Place of Truth"
Khaemope was not an unusual name among the Ramesside
Deir el-Medina community. It is found on stelae, on a
block statue, on papyri, in a tomb painting and in tomb
graffito. There were several titles appearing with this
name - some were just workmen with titles "servant in
the Place of Truth", some were ATw-officers, who
appear in several court cases and there also was one
contemporary "wood cutter" Khaemope.
Inv. no. AN1942.47
Given by Nina de Garis Davies
Naunakhte's will
From Deir el-Medina
New Kingdom, 20th dynasty
This legal document, written in hieratic script
in black ink on a sheet of papyrus, is part of a
will made by a woman called Naunakhte. It
records Naunakhte's distribution of her own
property among her 8 children and her decision
to disinherit 3 of the children, who she felt
failed to look after her as well as they should
have in her old age. It sheds some light on the
position of ancient Egyptian women and their
right to divide the family estate.
Inv. no. AN1945.97(4)
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
The Sinuhe ostrakon
Probably from Deir el-Medina
New Kingdom, 19th dynasty (1292-1190 BC)
With the exception of religious texts and
various standard formulas, few other
compositions are represented in as many
copies or partial copies. Two papyri of the
12th and the 13th dynasties provide a fairly
complete text. In the Ramesside period
during the 19th and the 20th dynasties
master scribes and their students copied the
text in school on ostraka. This is an example
of a large ostrakon containing virtually the
whole narrative inscribed on both sides.
Inv. no. AN1945.40
Given by Sir Alan Gardiner
These are both sides - recto and verso - of
the largest surviving limestone ostrakon from
ancient Egypt. The text is a copy of a story
known as The Tale of Sinuhe, originating
from the Middle Kingdom, the reign of King
Senwosret (around 1918-1875 BC). The main
protagonist is a courtier called Sinuhe. He
flees Egypt following the announcement of the
death of King Amenemhat (around
1938-1908 BC) and has adventures in Syria
and Palestine before returning home as an old
A major theme of the tale is the superiority
of Egyptian culture over all others.
Although the text was composed during the
Middle Kingdom, this copy was written more
than 600 years later. It is written in
hieratic script in black and red ink. The Tale
was considered a literary classic by the
ancient Egyptians and remained in circulation
for hundreds of years.
Hieratic papyrus
From Deir el-Medina
20th dynasty
A letter from the draughtsman Hormin to his
father the draughtsman Hori.
This papyrus reveals how a decorative scheme
(here, carving and painting a royal tomb) was usually
executed. Two crews of masons, draughtsmen and
sculptors - "the left" and "the right" sides - would
have set to work on opposite sides of the royal
tomb. Hormin came from a family of draughtsmen;
the posts were often passed on from father to son.
Inv. no. AN1958.112
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
This stele could have belonged to any of the following Khaemopes:
- to the first workman Khaemope, who was mentioned on the "right side" of the work force in a
document dated to the end of the 19th dynasty. Benedict Davis  sees the possibility of identifying him
as the "servant in the Place of Truth" Khaemope (iii) who is named on a block statue of his father, the
"servant in the Place of Truth" Pashedu. Davies also sees the alternative that he may be synonymous
with Khaemope (iv), son of Nakhtmin. (Davies,1996,292-293)
The tomb TT321 has been assigned to Khaemope (v).
Naunakhte lived in Deir el-Medina and was married twice. As a very young girl (12 years or slightly
older) she was married off to a prominent scribe named Qenhirkhopshef, (over 50) by whom she had no
children. After his death, and having inherited Qenhirkhopshef's and perhaps her father's valuables
and real estate, she married a workman named Khaemnun, with whom she had 8 surviving children. (Van
Naunakhte's will is dated to year 3 in the reign of King Ramesses V (around 1142 BC). It consists of 4
papyri, one of which is displayed in the gallery and is shown above. Two of the papyri were acquired by
Sir Alan Gardiner sometime after 1928 and presented to the Ashmolean Museum in 1945. The other
two papyri were found in situ by the IFAO excavations in 1928 (P.DeM23 and 25) (Van Heel,2016,89).
The document was written by two village scribes, one called Amennakht, whose name appears in the 8th
line on the right-hand side of this sheet. The document records the oral statement given by Naunakhte
before the local court. By this time Naunakhte was very old and perhaps did not have much longer to

Year 3, fourth month of inundation, day 5, in the reign of the Dual King, the Lord of the Two Lands
Weser-Ma'at-Re Sekheper-en-Re, l.p.h., the Son of Re, Lord of Diadems like Atum Ramesses
Amen-her-khepesh-ef Mery-Amen (Ramesses V), l.p.h., given life for ever and eternity.
This day, the lady Naunakhte made a record of her property before the following court:
the chief workman Nakhte-em-Mut
the chief workman In-Her-kHau
(12 further names)
She said: As for me, I am a free woman of the land of Pharaoh. I raised these eight servants of
yours, and I outfitted them with everything that is usual for people of their character. Now look, I
have become old, and look, they do not care for me. As for those who put their hands in my hand, to
them I will give my property; (but) as for those who gave me nothing, to them I will not give of my
List of the men and women to whom she gave:
the workman Maaninakhtef
the workman Qenhirkhopshef. She said: "I will give him a bronze washing-bowl as a bonus over an d
above his fellows, (worth) 10 sacks of emmer."
the workman Amunnakhte
the lady Wasetnakhte
the lady Menatnakhte.
As for the lady Menatnakhte, she said regarding her, "She will share in the division of all my property,
except the oipe of emmer that my three male children and the lady Wasetnakhte gave me or my hin of
oil that they gave to me in the same fashion."
List of her children of whom she said, "They will not share in the division of my one-third, but only in
the two-thirds (share) of their father."
the workman Neferhotep
the lady Menatnakhte
the lady Henutshenu
the lady Khatanub
As for these four children of mine, they will (not) share in the division of all my property.
Now as for all the property of the scribe
Qenhirkhopshef, my (first) husband, and also his immovable
property and the storehouse of my father, and also this oipe of emmer that I collected with my
husband,will not share in them.
But these eight children of mine will share in the division of the property of their father on equal
Translation from McDowell,1999,38-40