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2. One Day in Lahun


UCL Museums Top Ten Objects: Petrie Museum

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Lahun is in Fayum, 100 miles south of Cairo. It is the location of the pyramid site of Sensuret II (1877-1870 BC).

Gaming piece in Lahun
Gaming piece

A thriving town developed around the construction of the pyramid. Lahun was one of the best preserved Ancient Egyptian towns. The plan and finds give a picture of a late Middle Kingdom town (about 1850-1700 BC). The site was reused in later periods.

Petrie first excavated at Lahun (he called it Kahun) in 1889 and found the remains of mud-brick houses of different kinds. Large houses with courtyards reflect wealthier inhabitants than those who lived in smaller, terraced houses. Petrie surveyed the site and found many objects illustrative of daily life in Middle Kingdom Egypt.The wealth of finds is illustrated here with board games such as a black faience gaming piece UC7141. There are also workmen's tools and measuring instruments, such as a wooden cubit rod UC16747. Kohl pots, tweezers, hair curlers and mirrors show the importance of personal adornment, while what may be a rat-trap is evidence of a rodent problem. 

Petrie said that he would rather write about the inhabitants as a 'living community than as historical abstractions'. He found papyri that give voice to some of them, and reflect a range of writing, from legal documents and business notes to literary compositions and personal letters.

Rat trap

Rat-trap


There are lots more objects from Lahun that were excavated by Petrie in the Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester.

There is more Lahun on Digital Egypt.

Find out more about current surveying in the El-Lahun Survey project run by the Hungarian Archaeological Expeditions

Further reading:

K. Szpakowska (2007), Daily Life in Ancient Egypt: Recreating Lahun
R. David (1986), The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt. A Modern Investigation of Pharaoh's Workforce
S. Quirke (2005), Lahun. A Town in Egypt 1800 BC and the History of its Landscape

Tarkhan dress

Tarkhan dress

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