The village of Deir el-Medina has been so well preserved due to the fact that after its abandonment, it was covered by the shifting desert sands, making it possible to excavate the site thoroughly. Some Egyptologists that have played a part in either excavating the site or have received relics from the site include: Auguste Mariette (1821–81) Gaston Maspero (June 23, 1846 – June 30, 1916) Ernesto Shiaparelli (July 12, 1856– 1928) Bernard Bruyère (1879 - 1971) Jaroslav Černý ( 22 August 1898 - 29 May 1970) Auguste Mariette
is a French Egyptologist that is responsible for the discovery of the huge underground area of Serapeum that the Sacred Apis bulls of Memphis were buried. Mariette believed that the artefact's that he uncovered should not be sold, but rather stored in a safe location. Because of this view, he started the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Antiquities Service. Mariette was replaced by Gaston Maspero as Director of the museum when he died in 1881. Maspero was the first person to receive a doctorate in Egyptology. He was known for his restoration work on temples in Luxor and Karnak. While in Luxor, Maspero personally oversaw the clearing of the tomb of Sen-nedjem. There is not much known about this excavation as all the documentation was spread around the world to different museums. The first excavation took place in 1905 when the Italian excavator Ernesto Shiaparelli who was curator of the Egyptian Museum located in Italy, began digging at the site in Egypt. Shiaparelli had already found a number of Artefacts when in 1906 he hired a further 500 workers to aid him. He then did a full excavation of the northern part of the Valley of the Kings and to his amazement found an intact tomb with the foreman Kha and his wife Meryt. His finding were fully documented and published, but he did not finish his intended excavation report as he died in 1909 before he had the chance. The excavations done by Bernard Bruyère in 1917 played a big role in understanding everyday life and death in Egypt during the New Kingdom. Bruyère is credited with the first proper discovery of Deir el-Medina. This is how most of the information on the village workers came about. Bruyère's work only received very limited attention because at the same time as his excavations, Howard Carter opened the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Between the periods of 1922 and 1951,
Bruyère carried out an extremely thorough investigation of community life, said to be one of the most thorough investigation taken out for the ancient world. He explored all aspects of community including social interactions between the villagers and living and working conditions.Various things that Bruyère discovered included the number of working days, the average persons pay, and even their reasons for having a sick day (illness, family matters, fights with the wife or even being hungover). Also discovered by Bruyère
was one of the temporary sites that the workers stayed at while during their eight day during periods. After the site was excavated, many other archaeologists did not find the site important as they were looking for more expensive Artefacts, so the site was destroyed. While his excavations, Bruyere was looking for a qualified epigrapher to help him with his work, and that is when Jaroslav Černý joined his team. Černý is known to be one of the best Egyptologists around. Excavations were hard work and required dedication and long hours in order to make the most of their findings.
"Deir el-Medina is the name of the valley extending approximately from south to north and bordered up to the east by a hill called Qurnet Murai, at its eastern slope extends the village of the same name, and to the west by the mountains that we have already seen from Luxor and that reach far into Libyan desert, which is part of the Sahara. A pathway runs at the bottom of the valley and to the left of the path on the hill slope is the cemetery of Deir el-Medina, our workplace. Deir el-Medina is an Arabic name and it means "city monastery". The "Monastery" is the temple dated to the Ptolemaic period located at the northern edge at the exit from the valley. The word "city" is connected to the city of Djeme, nowadays called Medinet Habu, the ruins of which come from the 10th century and lie within about 15 to 20 minutes' walking distance along the temple of Ramesse III.
"We work eight hours, from 6:30 with a quarter of an hour's break for breakfast to 12, and from 1 to 3:30. The workmen bring their food with them in bundles, as no one is allowed to leave the area of the necropolis during working hours. The transgression of this rule is punished by immediate lay-off. We work all days of the week except Tuesdays, i.e. even on Sunday. On Tuesday there is a market at Luxor and so we have a day off so that everyone can make their shopping for the entire week..."
(Some of the lectures that were written by Černý on his ten months in Egypt)