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Woodcraft in Deir el-Medina: reassessment and research perspectives

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The woodcraft productions discovered in Deir el-Medina have been the subject of several studies, mainly devoted to wooden furniture preserved in museum collections. If coffins constitute the majority of the corpus, the wooden objects of Deir
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   1 Woodcraft in Deir el-Medina: reassessment and research perspectives. Dr. Gersande Eschenbrenner-Diemer, Institute of Archaeology, University College of London The woodcraft productions discovered in Deir el-Medina have been the subject of several studies, mainly devoted to wooden furniture preserved in museum collections. If coffins constitute the majority of the corpus, the wooden objects of Deir el-Medina are diverse and finally unknown. The reassessment of this dossier within the framework of the French mission of Ifao directed by C. Larcher since 2017, is closely linked to the project PÉRCÉA Bois ( Projet d’  Étude et de Restauration des Collections Égyptiennes Anciennes, Bois  IFAO/UCL) that I developed at Ifao since 2018 and whose objective is the restoration and the study of the wooden collections of the Institute. The vast majority of the PÉRCÉA Bois collection is made up of wood fragments of Theban srcin and is closely linked to Deir el-Medina. Combining archaeometric analyses, technical, stylistic and prosopographical studies, our main objective is to highlight the economic and social dynamics of woodcraft from the village of Deir el-Medina. 1. 2. Fig. 1-2  Wooden objects to be studied, stored in Storage 12. ©GED The study of the wooden material of Deir el-Medina is a vast project that can only be conducted by several people. Faced with the extent of the task perfectly visible through these few photographs, which are only a sample of the material to be sorted, processed, reconditioned and studied, a research team made up of three Egyptologists (Anna Giulia de Marco, Lisa Sartini-University of Pisa, and myself) and a restorer (Jan Cutajar-UCL) was formed to take over the study and analysis of the material. The team collaborates with researchers who work on the village as Paolo Marini, specialist of Shabti boxes (Museo Egizio). They will present their work in the following of this conference. The dozens of wooden objects and fragments that are stored in several tombs on the site or in the Ifao collections, provide data whose potential must be exploited and preserved. The skills of the various members of the "wood team" will therefore be combined to identify the workshops or craftsmen's hands at the srcin of these productions. The use of local and imported wood and therefore the economic networks will be examined through species analyses which will be carried out on the entire corpus. It will then be a question of   2 understanding the modes of production and use of this wooden furniture in order to specify its srcin, in or outside the village. This material data will be put in perspective with the textual data, allowing us to link lists of objects whose species are specified and the “material reality” . This vast project aims to make the link between the abundant material still preserved in situ, largely unpublished, and museum objects to compare productions and identify groups but also to reconnect funerary objects or sets that have been dispersed over time. The first case study that will be briefly presented here is that of Setaou's coffin, whose box was still stored on the site while its lid is now kept in the National Museum of Warsaw (138983 NMW). Fig. 3 Glass plate showing the discovery of the tomb of Setaou (1352) ©IFAO Fig. 4-5 Planks from the coffin box of Setaou (on the site) ©GED   3 Archaeology, archaeometry and historiography will be closely linked. Thanks to this research project, a GIS database linking the objects preserved on the site to those now scattered throughout the world will be created to virtually connect the objects and funerary sets that have  been scattered. This project will lead to an important publication in the Ifao presses by 2022 about the Deir el-Medina social and economic wood networks. Inchallah, the GIS database will  be online at the same time.
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