Creating the Valley of the Kings was no simple undertaking: a small army of builders, engineers, engravers and other workers was required to carve the dozens of tombs out of sheer rock over the centuries.
Naturally they all had to be housed somewhere, ideally not too far away. But it was only with the discovery Valley of the Artisans (or Deir el-Medina), around the time of the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb, that we learnt more about their living conditions.
The outlines of the “workmen’s village” are still clearly visible, and extant reliefs offer a fascinating portrait of everyday life. All of this makes the Valley of the Artisans a pleasant change after countless monuments glorifying the pharaohs and their morbid fixation on the afterlife.