Estates and Houses
Home Up



Houses, Estates and Palaces

Houses and Estates

Country houses


The Compound of the villa of Royal sculpture Djehutmos

The Compound of the villa of Royal sculpture Djehutmos including his School for Sculpture and studios

HOUSES, WELLS AND WORKSHOPS: The Main City (South Suburb) next to the ceremonial centre contained the residences of the majority of the population. Their houses, built to a standard plan, were provided with wells to water the gardens, small shrines with open or closed roofs for a cult of the King and his family, and surrounding workshops.

The identities of some of the owners are known. Panehesy was Chief Priest and had two houses.

The famous sculptor Thutmose lived at the south of the city and in his workshop here he made the Nefertiti head and many of the other of well known sculptures from Amarna.


The Compound of the villa of Royal sculpture Djehutmos including his School for Sculpture and studios


The Living Room of Royal sculpture Djehutmos the famous artist who made the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti


The Living Room of Royal sculpture Djehutmos the famous artist who made the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti

The Compound of the villa of Royal sculpture Djehutmos including his School for Sculpture and studios



The Compound of the villa of Royal sculpture Djehutmos including his School for Sculpture and studios


The Water Well
Berlin by bata ez. The Studio where the bust of Queen Nefertiti was found among another three hundred master pieces by Master Djehutmos

The mud brick houses of Akhenaton were some of the most important discoveries they contain a wealth of detail about the life of the city they were used for a variety of purposes some of which are listed below. The most famous is that of Thutmosis the Sculptor which contained his workshops as well as his residence. Here in one of the rooms was discovered the famous bust of Nefertiti and other sculptures.

Kitchen utensils left in the kitchen


Town Houses


 Country House   City House City House

 City House

City House

City House


Villa Pond

City Houses and Blocks of Flats can be 6 stories high

City Villas

Country estate

City Houses and Blocks of Flats model

City Houses and Blocks of Flats model


   Villa Garden and Pond

Central Room



  Villa of Merere High priest of ATON in the city of Ahetaten


The House of Djehutinefer

    Djehutinefer was a royal scribe and treasurer under Amenhotep II. He lived and was buried at Thebes, where drawings of his townhouse were found. According to the depiction of its outside it was narrow and tall with a wide entrance. The walls were painted blue.
    He had a second tomb made for himself where a kind of a cross section of his house was shown.

The house of Djehutinefer after a drawing in his tomb, Source: 'Pharaos Volk' by  T.G.H.James

    Djehutinefer's house seems to have been three storeys high - Egyptians sometimes drew horizontal as vertical space (things spatially side by side were depicted as being one above the other, cf. the two servants occupied with bread-making - bottom right). It was very spacious compared to the houses of common people.
    The ground floor is given over to the servants, spinners spinning and three weavers working at two vertical looms. Further to the right another servant is grinding corn and someone probably sifting the flour, an important task as little pieces of rock frequently were part of the flour.
    The second floor is the living area of the family. In the main hall, the qa'a, the master of the house sits on a chair placed on a dais. Servants bring refreshments and flowers. There are four small windows close to the ceiling, more for ventilation than lighting.
    On the third floor there is a kind of office. Again the master sits on his raised chair. A servant cools him with a fan and chases flies away. Another offers him a drink. Scribes squat in attendance.
    On the roof there are grain stores. The food is mostly prepared and cooked up here and has to be carried downstairs.
    The ceilings of all the rooms are supported by wooden pillars with three different capitals, simple and unadorned in the servants' quarters and more elaborate upstairs.

Not every one had as grandiose a habitation as Djehutinefer or even his own living space neatly separated from that of his neighbour. Ownership of land and rights of access in towns were often shared among a number of people and were sometimes unclear, leading to tensions among neighbours. The drawing up of an owner's rights could prevent future court cases.
You may go up (to) and down (from) the roof on the stairway of this aforesaid house and you may go in and out (of the front hallway by means of the) main doorway of said house and its house path which goes from the south to the street and (you) may make any alteration on it (with your workmen) and your materials in proportion to your aforesaid one-eighteenth share from today onward forever."
From a bill of sale dated to the middle of the third cent. BCE,
Oriental Institute, U. of Chicago

Reconstruction Model of the house Rannefer in the City of Tel Amarna


  Villas and Villa of General Ramose

Bedroom Door Lentil Kitchen ovens
Bathroom sink for oil and perfumes Shower Bathroom Shower

Toilet seat Toilets Toilet

Vineyard in a Villa

Water well


Villa of General Ramose

Entrance of Genr0eral Ramose Central Room

Lintel door entrance of General Ramose

Central Room of General Ramose

Central Room of General Ramose

Central Room of General Ramose

Stairs to the upper level

Central Room of General Ramose

Central Room of General Ramose

Central Room of General Ramose

Villa of General Ramose

Villa of General Ramose


Garden and water well


General Ramose's House

 Below are roll-overs of the house that give a better look at the inside of the house and a better feel of the overall house itself.

The house itself would have been primarily built of mud brick and then whitewashed with gypsum. The inside would have been plastered and decoration applied on top. (Kemp, 1989, pg. 296)

Another building material that would have been restricted to very wealthy people was stone. The significance of stone being used in the construction of the house of General Ramose in the section where I discuss the Central Room. Besides being a sign of wealth, the stone in Ramose's house was the way that Borchadt was able to identify this house as belonging to the Vizier Ramose. Usually, in a house of someone so important, the initial threshold of the entrance would have been brightly painted and would have borne the name of the resident in hieroglyphs on its jambs (Lloyd, 1933, pg.3). In the case of the house of General Ramose, we can assume that this was also present in his house, but no evidence of such a threshold in the entrance remains today. As can be seen in the picture below of the low stairs leading to the entrance of the house.

Picture from Die Wohnhäuser In Tell El-Amarna, by Ludwig Borchardt and Herbert Ricke.

However, there are door jambs from the private part of the house that bear the name of General Ramose and his titles. The pictures are below.


The area of the house is a particular point of interest because having an internal staircase in a house meant that there was a second story. According to Seton Lloyd, in most cases, along with the appearance of an internal staircase, there have also been small column bases that had presumably fallen from above (Lloyd, 1933, pg. 7). No one is exactly sure what the people of the residences used the enclosed part of the second story for, it could quite possibly have been for more storage space or a private place for the family to relax inside. The outside part of the second story, however, was used for sitting, relaxing, sleeping, or any other activity that the occupants could have wanted to do out there.

    The people that reconstructed Ramose's house in this model from Cambridge had a differing opinion than I do about where the staircase is located. I know from Die Wohnhäuser In Tell El-Amarna, by Ludwig Borchardt and Herbert Ricke that the staircase is located as indicated in the picture below:

    With the way that the Cambridge model has its second story arranged, there is no way that they were basing their reconstruction on the floor plans from Die Wohnhäuser In Tell El-Amarna. The way that I have constructed the second story of Ramose's house in my project is based on this floor plan, which the picture below demonstrates.



Villa of Vizier Nakht

Map of Boundary Stelae Part of the house – the ‘North Loggia’ – of the vizier Nakht, one of the larger houses at Amarna. Excavation photograph from the 1922 season

Vizier Nakht Villa

Central Room

the North Loggia

Villas in Ancient Egypt

Private Housing at Amarna
by Jimmy Dun  

Model of a mansion at Amarna

Amarna, ancient Akhetaten, is such an anomaly. It was purposefully destroyed (building material being used elsewhere) at the end of the Amarna Period by the ancient Egyptians because of the Akhenaten heresy, but because of its location and other lucky characteristics, certain elements of the city are some of the best preserved from the New Kingdom in Egypt. Hence, rather than obliterating Akhenaten's memory as they wished to do, the ancient Egyptians helped it to survive. On the other hand, it is somewhat of a curse to Egyptologists, for many elements of the city could not be called typical. Not only were the temples unique, but because of the need to expedite its construction, many other aspects of the city differ from the ancient Egyptian norm as well.  Residential housing, though perhaps providing us with clues as to the general elements included in ancient Egyptian homes, was at the same time also atypical at Amarna. Specifically, the Amarna type of house is remarkably uniform, even in upper and middle class residences. Here, we have hundreds of houses that have been excavated and because of their uniformity, we may derive certain characteristics that were common to all residences at Amarna.  Outside of the workers village, the characteristic Amarna house was essentially a country home on large grounds and surrounded by a courtyard comprising a garden, a kitchen, servants' quarters and stables or silos, all within an enclosure wall. In fact, the typical house at Amarna was more of a mansion than a town house. The walls were generally made of brick, supplemented by stone for the bases of columns and even for doorways. Columns, roofs and staircase supports were of wood, while floors were made of mud or of brick, that whitewashed and painted.
Floor plan of an upper class home at Amarna Most of these houses at Amarna had a somewhat square plan, oriented parallel to the river, and consisted of two well defined sections of private and public living areas. 

 Isometric view of a main hall in an Amarna houseFloor plan of an upper class home at Amarna

In the public area, there was what might have been considered a living room that developed into a broad hall, sometimes called a loggia, and a deep hall or central square hall, to which an entrance vestibule was added occasionally. Sometimes there were simply two broad halls. Basically, housing differed for the rich, middle class and poor in that they had two, one or no broad halls respectively.  A ramp or stairway would also ascend to a northern lobby, which has been described, though on no substantial grounds, as a porter's lodge. Adjoining the ramp or stairway is a broad hall or reception room, sometimes also called a loggia on the assumption that it had large windows opening above the steps and facing the north. We know from ancient texts, and from studies of climatic conditions prevailing in later times and the present as well, that the cool breeze blew from the north or west, and the arrangement of a reception room open to the north and west was to take advantage of these conditions.  The central chamber was usually square and opened upon the loggia. It forms the nucleus of the house plan and could have also been used as a living area. This room had higher walls than those

Prospective of the central hall in the house of the vizier, Nakht


elsewhere in the house, probably allowing for clerestory lighting just below a ceiling that was supported on wooden columns, typically painted a reddish brown. Other rooms surrounded the central chamber providing additional insulation against the heat of the summer and the cool evenings in winter. Numerous doorways opened off of this central chamber according to a strict pattern of symmetry and niches. This consisted of niches in the shape of doorways set opposite or symmetrical with the actual doorways. The larger niches would have probably contained a stela representing the royal family and another with a prayer to the Aten disk. These would have functioned as domestic shrines.  Featured in the chamber as permanent furniture was a raised dais along the middle of the rear wall that acted as a divan. Cushions and chairs were placed on this dais for the owners visitors. A brazier container sunk into the plastered floor, and a lustration slab were also present, evidencing its use as a living room. At the tops of the walls, the this room would have been decorated with a frieze of plants such as water lilies or perhaps pendent ducks, flowers or festoons of fruit. Doorways were frequently painted with horizontal stripes of various colors, while the ceiling would have been a rich blue as in the house of Nakht. In one of the rooms leading off from the central chamber, a staircase consisting of two or more flights would have led to a roof terrace, though in larger mansions a columned loggia was built above the broad hall and possibly over other rooms as well.  The private areas within residential houses at Amarna typically consisted of a square hall, the master's bedroom, a few smaller rooms and a bathroom and a latrine.

Drawing of a bathroom at Amarna in a private residenceFacade of a private temple at Amarna, now in the Egyptian Museum

The square hall, which was perhaps the women's quarters, would typically be similar to the central hall but is smaller, fitted however, with the same type of furniture. Lighting would usually be provided by windows opening high on the south wall.  The master's bedroom was the most private of all the rooms, and was most often situated in the southwest corner of the house. It was accessible either through the square hall or a lobby. The bedroom was discernable from the alcove for the bed, which was somewhat narrower than the room and set in its rear part on a raised floor. There were small, stone blocks in the shape of a truncated pyramid that were placed under the feet of the bed. The alcove was not simply a mater of aesthetics. Because of the greater thickness of its walls scholars believe that it may have been roofed over with a vault carried high above the ceiling and opening on the terrace for ventilation. Representations of the royal palace all show such a device for the cool northern breeze. Near the bedroom a group of rooms function as a bathroom, latrine and robe room or closet. The bathroom would be fitted with a slightly inclined stone-slab floor and the walls wee typically lined to a certain height (about half a meter) with battered stone slabs to protect against dampness and splashing. Drainage of waste water was provided by setting a basin beneath the spout of the floor lab in the bathroom, or sometimes by drainage channels running through the outer wall into a vessel or straight into the desert sand. Lacking any water pipes, the bathroom must have been a primitive shower system where water was poured over the bather by an attendant from behind the partial wall. Often, only a partial wall some 1.25

Typical toilet seats at Amarna and elsewhere in ancient Egypt during the New Kingdom

 meters in height separated the bathroom from the latrine.
Typical toilet seats at Amarna and elsewhere in ancient Egypt during the New Kingdom The latrine was a simple earth-closet equipped with a removable oblong vessel placed under the slit in a brick or wooden seat. Such devices should be considered as common throughout Egypt at this time. Likewise, the side rooms had transverse low walls abutting against the main wall and were

 The granary court in the House of Ranefer at Amarna

equipped with wooden frames used as shelving for the storage of linen, just as in temples and palaces at Thebes
The granary court in the House of Ranefer at Amarna Many Amarna homes had outbuildings that were situated according to a specific layout. Often, there was a main entrance doorway at an end of the enclosure wall that opened onto a pathway bordered with trees growing in puddles of Nile River mud which led to a small chapel. When present, these chapels were elevated on a

Gran Silos at the house of Ranefer in Amarna Lustration slab in one of the smaller houses (dig in 1924) A well in the house of Ranefer which had later been covered by a columned room
  Lustration slab in one of the smaller houses (dug in 1924)  

 rectangular socle and accessed by a stairway. Usually, the chapels had a very small porch and a roofless shrine with an altar for the Aten. From the chapel, the path would make a right turn toward the house.  Behind the house there were typically granaries, storerooms, a chariot room and stables, servants' quarters and kitchens. The granaries were in the form of a truncated silo on a circular plan, covered with cupolas (dome). These silos were paired, with a stairway winding up to the aperture through which grain was poured. There was a square doorway at the bottom to disperse the grain. The storerooms were deep rectangular contiguous rooms.  The stalls and stables for horses sometimes had an extremely ingenious device.

They were stone paved where the horses stood, with a built-up manger and tethering-stones that were bordered by a feeding passage running behind the manger and accessible from the outside. 
Facade of a private temple at Amarna, now in the Egyptian Museum Servant housing generally featured a large room with pillars. The kitchens, which were well equipped with a range of simple pottery ovens, sometimes had attached living quarters for the cook. These ovens were cylindrical jars, about one meter high and open at both top and bottom.

 They were thickly coated with mud or brick. There was a small hole for stoking the fire at the bottom. Flat loaves were introduced from above. An adjacent room was equipped with racks for drying and storing loaves, and a cement coated slab for mixing dough.  A well was essential in most mansions. That of Ra'nefer had a circular shaft in which a stairway descends in two flights to a ring platform around the well itself. However, some scholars believe that there were few if any ponds in these mansions, suggesting that places where ponds have been recorded were simply from covered over wells. Though many aspects of Amarna were unique to Egypt, most elements of housing in this location, even though more uniform then elsewhere, must have at least for the most part imitated residences elsewhere in Egypt, and the number of remains do indeed provide us with a rich source for domestic living not usually found elsewhere in Egypt

The central room of one of the smaller houses (dug in 1924), with single column to support the roof and a limestone ‘lustration slab’ Bathroom in one of the smaller houses (dug in 1924) Bathroom in one of the smaller houses (dug in 1924)
The central room of one of the smaller houses (dug in 1924), with single column to support the roof and a limestone ‘lustration slab’ Bathroom in one of the smaller houses (dug in 1924) Bathroom in one of the smaller houses (dug in 1924)




Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.

Per Ankh Trading cc  Reg. No. CK10/156669/23
Copyright © 2005 Per Ankh
Last modified: 11/17/10