Leonard Lesko

Home Away from Home. Rather than walking a mile to their village every evening, workers from Deir el-Medina sometimes camped overnight in these simple stone huts overlooking the Valley of the Kings. The white path running by the camp leads directly from the village to the tombs.

Overlooking the valley, the 1,500-foot peak of Gurn (upper right) was considered sacred to the cobra-goddess Meretseger (her name means “She who loves silence”), who was thought to reside on the mountain, and to the goddess Hathor, who was believed to protect the dead in the netherworld. The pyramidal form of the mountain may have inspired the New Kingdom pharaohs to build their tombs here, in remembrance of the pyramid-shaped tombs of their Old Kingdom predecessors.