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date: 01 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Since the early nineteenth century, archaeological fieldwork in the Valley of the Kings has relied on the manual labor provided by the villagers of nearby Qurna, the Qurnawi. Adopting a social anthropological perspective, this chapter considers the royal valley as integrated in the history and continuing social life of its nearby resident community. Qurnawi experience the Theban Necropolis as a real presence in their lives, bestowing a sense of communal identity and not only offering economic benefits but also inflicting hardship. Much of Qurna’s colorful vernacular mud-brick architecture was demolished between 2006 and 2010, and the historic and social landscape of the Theban Necropolis destroyed. This chapter explores in turn some of the historical, political, and cultural facets of Qurnawi society. Western literary representations, the politics of heritage management and the role of UNESCO, and Qurnawi oral literary traditions are examined.

Keywords: Heritage management, oral literary traditions, Qurna, Qurnawi, resident community, Social Anthropology, social landscape, Theban Necropolis, UNESCO, vernacular mud-brick architecture, Western literary representations

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