The great surprise
Rock shrine

In Leiden, the team of researchers are working on a database, that collects textual evidence based on
data from papyri, ostraka and graffiti. The database is called The Deir el-Medina Database. It is
meant to be a presentation of the ongoing research project called "Survey of the New Kingdom
Non-literary Texts from Deir el-Medina of Leiden University". The present version of the Deir
el-Medina Database is available on the Worldwide Web at and enables the user to search and retrieve the
documents relevant to their research activities. The project is supported by the Netherlands
Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO) and by the Faculty of Arts of Leiden Universityand staffed
by Prof. J.F. Borghouts (supervisor), Dr R.J. Demarée, Dr K. Donker van Heel, Dr A. Egberts, Dr B.
Haring and Dr J. Toivari-Viitala.   

Robert Demarée of Leiden University recently gave a talk at the Dutch Institute in Cairo, during which
he informed the audience, of his meticulous research. It had resulted in what he called "a great
surprise" :
He said that ..."it appeared that the workers, or should we say workmen and artisans, the  people who
built the rock-cut tombs of the Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings  from about 1500 BC onwards, may
have later been employed on a project aimed at  "emptying" and "recycling" their contents."...

..."The material revealed that, under Ramses IX, it was no longer safe in the  village and the
community took refuge near the Temple of Deir el-Bahri where they created tombs for the Priests of
Amun, and, under a new boss of a new  dynasty in Thebes, the ruling elite appears to have been given
orders to empty  the royal tombs and recycle the objects," Demarée said.

Further reading:
Deir el-Bahri
This page was last modified on April 1st 2009
Photography © Lenka and Andy Peacock