Absences from Work


Numerous ostraca recording daily absences were recovered at Deir el-Medina. These not only inform us about work practices at the site, but also tell us about health and social roles in village life. As part of my research on Deir el-Medina, I compiled a database with over 2,000 absences and 70 separate texts. The chart above illustrates how many of these sources only provide a handful of absences, while others account for a large percentage of the total absences recorded.

These absences are also distributed unevenly between the 19th and 20th dynasties. The 19th dynasty was a more successfully bureaucratic period at Deir el-Medina, and consequently contains more recorded absences than the 20th dynasty. Peruse the network graph below of rulers to see how these texts distribute by ruler. Note: the graph is weighted by regnal year, so larger circles represent absences recorded later in rule.

Peruse my database below to learn more about the detailed information we can glean from these valuable texts. Look at the different reasons given for absences, the seasonal distribution of those absences, and the different workmen recorded at Deir el-Medina.