Erich Lessing

Ancient Bedroom Community. Just west of modern Luxor on the left bank of the Nile lies the small walled village of Deir el-Medina. From about 1550 to 1050 B.C., the stonecutters, artists and civil servants living here built the tombs of the New Kingdom queens and pharaohs—including Ramesses, Tuthmosis and Merneptah—buried in the nearby Valleys of the Kings and Queens. About 100 people lived in the town, which they called Set Maat, or “the Place of the Truth.”

In this photo, the fertile Nile Valley appears in the distance, behind the Gurnet Murai hill. The ruins of a third-century B.C.E. temple appear at far left.