Kemet Klub

Life and Death in Deir el-Medina


Dr Claudia Naeser
Sunday 14th and 21st April 2024

Certificate of Completion


At the end of this course you will be able to download a personalised certificate of completion from the classroom. A great way to keep track of your learning and celebrate your Egyptological journey.

Life and Death in Deir el-Medina
with Dr Claudia Naeser

4 lectures delivered over 2 afternoons. Sunday 14th & 21st April 2024
2-5pm UK times.

We love to see you for the live lectures, but if you have to miss one, don't worry, you can of course catch up (or watch again) at your leisure via the recordings. You will have access to the recorded lectures for a whole month after the last live lecture. Recordings will be available until 20th May.

This set of 4 lectures coincides with the publication of Claudia’s The Everyday Life of Death. Mortuary Practices in New Kingdom Deir el-Medina (in German) later this year. In her book, as with this course, Claudia uses archaeological, pictorial and textual data from Deir el-Medina, the village of the workmen who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, to reconstruct the development of mortuary practices in this tight-knit community across four hundred years.

In her lectures, Claudia will follow the history of the settlement of Deir el-Medina and the community of workmen from its foundation in the early 18th to its abandonment in the late 20th Dynasty (ca. 1470 to 1070 BC). We will explore how daily life in the village was organised and the role  the  preparation for eternity played for its inhabitants.

Highly skilled through their work in the royal tombs, the workmen built their own richly decorated tombs in the cemeteries around the village and produced – and traded – their own funerary equipment, primarily coffins. As the sector grew, producers and buyers started to record their transactions on ostraca. From these we learn about the economic dimensions of equipping a burial, e.g. which kinds of goods the inhabitants of Deir el-Medina mobilized when they wanted to purchase a coffin, or how producers stepped up their skills and their strategies to succeed in this field.

Intact burials – namely the tomb of Kha and Merit (TT8), and the burial of the family of Sennedjem (TT1) – in combination with this rich textual record allow a detailed reconstruction of the processes of assembling the burial equipment and the burial itself. They also alert us to a range of other aspects, including intracultural robbing, subsequent inspections and tidying-up as well as the reburial of material from disturbed tombs.  

Through this material, we will uncover how different factors – religious concepts of how to gain and maintain the desired existence after death, access to knowledge and economic resources, but also individual and collective experiences and aspirations, as well as the contigencies of when and how someone died – influenced mortuary provisions.

In summary, the course will advance your knowledge of ancient Egyptian mortuary practices and offer a new and unexpectedly detailed view on life and death in Deir el-Medina.

Claudia’s book will be published with Golden House Publications ( 

Dr Claudia Naeser

Claudia Naeser is Associate Professor in Egyptian Archaeology at University College London. Her research and teaching are broad and interdisciplinary with a particular focus on mortuary culture of New Kingdom Egypt and Nubia. Claudia has published widely on these topics. She currently directs the Shalfak Archaeological Mission ( and the Mograt Island Archaeological Mission ( Claudia is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (

Booking instructions

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Session links will be available in the course Classroom. Room opens 30 minutes before the lecture begins. If you do not have the course link or have any other queries please get in touch

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