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The Turnus Lists

Compiled by R.J. Demarée

The importance of the so-called ‘journal of the necropolis’ records for dating texts or events from the later years of Ramesses III and the early years of Ramesses IV was first noticed by J. Cerný in ZÄS 72 (1936), pp. 115ff. A characteristic of these day-by-day notes on deliveries to the workmen of Deir el-Medina is the indication, mostly immediately after the date, of the name of the workman who was responsible for the receipt of the supplies on that particular day. Clearly these ‘duties’ followed a fixed order: from year 24 of Ramesses III until year 1 of Ramesses IV the roster contained 19 names and afterwards this was changed into 30 names. On the basis of this insight W. Helck was able to draw up a table of the reconstructed ‘duty roster’ or ‘turnus list’ in ZDMG 105 (1955), pp. 27-38. Since then several new texts have become known, most of them duly listed by J.J. Janssen in Village Voices (1992), pp. 91-94.

The tables drawn up by Helck, although incomplete, do have the advantage that any given name of a workman can be followed through the seasons and the regnal years, but a quick search for any given date to check which workman was ‘on duty’, is very difficult (he only denotes the months by Roman numbers). A complete table of the turnus lists for the period year 24 R.III until year 2 R.IV therefore presents itself as an alternative. In the following table all names of workmen ‘on duty’ on a certain day, attested by records, are in bold characters. In case a name of a workman ‘on duty’ on a certain day is known from a record of a different type, it is written in italics. At the end of every month column the specific record is noted. In some cases a few remarks provide some additional information. Since our documentation still shows many ‘gaps’, the reconstructed roster for several shorter or longer periods of course is tentative. Yet, the order of the names in principle did not change, except for replacements (caused by death or otherwise) or representations by someone for a colleague.

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