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The Kahun and Deir el-Medina Communities

Dier el-Medina comprised of Egypt's most prolific tomb-builders during the New Kingdom. They are known to have constructed their own tombs or hired other members of the village to do part or all the work for them. The Kahun of the el-Lahun community was also a worker's village that flourished in the Middle kingdom that was associated with Senusret II's pyramid. Both these communities were comprised of artisans and workers that worked on the royal mortuary monuments. Both this communities constructed the tombs which have provided information offering great understanding of the activities that took place in ancient Egypt (McDowell).

The Kahun as well as the Dier el-Medina kept documents and records of some of their day to day activities. According to Parkinson, the Kahun community mainly kept documents mainly in the form of administrative letters and records. These papyri which are conflation of several as opposed to a single archive cover the period from the 12th Dynasty as well as the beginning of the 13th (Parkinson). The best documented aspect of the Deir el-Median life was their economic activities although there are also other documents such as equipment inventories, the Turin strike Papyrus, as well as personnel lists. All major economic activities (sales, loans and gifts) were recorded in details (McDowell). These documents have been attributed largely for the vast knowledge and information that we currently have regarding the way of living for ancient Egyptians in these towns.

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The main difference between the Kahun and the Deir el-Medina communities is that they both existed in a different time period. While the Kahun was in existent in the Middle Kingdom and particularly the around the 12th dynasty (Parkinson), the Deir el-Medina is a community from the New Kingdom around the 19th Dynasty period (McDowell). This difference presents a specific timeline about how the community life in ancient Egypt's villages evolved over time with relation to the social, economic and political aspects of life.

Another difference between these two communities is that while the Kahun community flourished during a time of stability and strong governance, the Deir el-Medina community was constantly under siege. The need by immigrants to settle on the Nile valley as a result of food shortages in Libya as well as in the western desert put pressure on the country from the western borders. Reports indicate wars against the Libyan and Nubian foreigners causing interruptions in their work and consequently leading to the people abandoning their isolated village for more populated towns this shows the gradual weakening of the once powerful kingdom as exrernal pressures intensified (McDowell). The Kahun community was guided by forts such as the Semna, southern fortress, which constantly checked on the Nubians' movements nearby as well as checking on their trading legality. They also provided oversight to fugitives too ensure they did not escape labour-duty. This demonstrated the pervasiveness with which the state administration governed the country at the time (Parkinson).

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