Skilled Workers

Skilled workers formed a middle class between the poor labourers and the rich officials and nobles. Wall paintings and models show us craft workers carving stone and wood, making pottery, or working precious metals. There were boat builders, and chariot makers, too.

Artists and craft workers could be well rewarded for their skills, and some became famous for their work. The house and workshops of a sculptor called Thutmose was excavated in el-Amarna in 1912. He was very successful in his career and was a favourite of the royal family.

Craft workers often lived in their own part of town. A special village was built at Deir el-Medina, near Thebes, for the builders of the magnificent, but secret, royal tombs. Amoung the 100 or so houses there, archaeologists found delivery notes for goods, sketches and plans drawn on broken pottery. Working conditions cannot always have been very good, for records show that the workers once went on strike. They may well have helped to rob the tombs that they themselves had built.

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