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by Archaeology Newsroom

Wage Accounting in Deir el-Medina

Richard Mandeville

Richard Mandeville, Wage Accounting in Deir el-Medina, Abercromby Press, December 2014, xx + 203 pp., ISBN: 978 0 9930920 0 8.

By investigating the documentary evidence from the royal workmen’s community at Thebes, Wage Accounting in Deir el-Medina provides a comprehensive overview of the processes by which the state paid its employees their monthly grain rations.

The present study analyses seasonal fluctuations in the delivery schedule, the frequency of payments, the classes of workmen found listed in the ration texts, and the amounts of grain that they individually received. That so much of the pertinent material can be dated so precisely has proven invaluable to the establishment of patterns and failures within the wage payment system.

The specialised terminology and vocabulary employed by the scribes responsible for compiling these payment records has also been examined in order to ascertain the specific meaning and use of words and phrases.

Through an examination of the palaeography and composition of wage records it has been possible to demonstrate just how the scribes went about the work of reporting grain shipments to the village of Deir el-Medina. By way of conclusion, a model is presented that reconstructs the physical processes by which grain made its journey from harvest to the village homes of the necropolis workmen.

About the author

Richard Mandeville earned his PhD in Egyptology from the University of Liverpool in 2010.

He currently works full-time as a Project Officer for Pre-Construct Archaeological Services Ltd, where he is responsible for the supervision of field projects and the preparation of archaeological reports for the council archives. In his spare time he also teaches courses on ancient Egyptian language, history and archaeology for the WEA.