A Greek word (pl. ostraca) that means 'pot sherd', but which is also used by Egyptologists to refer to pieces of limestone with texts or depictions on them. Ostraca, produced in large quantities when carving out a tomb, had at least one flat surface that was suitable for writing on, and were a much cheaper material than papyrus. Thousands of ostraca have been found with a wide selection of texts: in addition to administrative and personal records, also fragments of literary texts (usually done as a writing exercise). The vast majority of them were found at Deir el-Medinah, the workmen's village on the west bank at Thebes. Besides ostraca with texts, there are also many examples with illustrations. Here, too, we are often dealing with practice sketches. Occasionally these illustrations depict humorous and satirical scenes.