I am about to embark into the wide world of historical fiction for the first time, which is going to be an adventure. Luckily, my chosen time-period and place are both the subject of my dissertation (I can research them both at the same time!! and get my dissertation advisor to help with my research for it! muahaha!) so I'm pretty confident about the research end of it. But I'm running into a dilemma. The story I want to tell comes from an Ancient Egyptian village (Deir el-Medina) and much of my story sources are coming out of the written records of the place (many and detailed! *glee*) including the characters.
Now my dilemma is this. There are two people (characters) who I think would play off each other incredibly well in the setting of the story. But, due to the nature of the evidence, I have no idea when they lived exactly (I know the era, and can probably approximate Dynasty, but that's not very specific) and thus have no idea if they were alive at the same time (I don't think so), a generation apart, two generations apart, etc. Now, it is unlikely that anyone else knows this information either, though quite possible and I just haven't found it yet. So I am thinking of putting both the characters into the story, regardless.
What would you do? With people these obscure (these are all villagers, no great kings or anything) people would you still stick as rigidly as possible to exact times that they lived, or would you be willing to mix it up a bit, while remaining true to the real people in other ways?
Anyway, I appreciate any opinions/advice/input at all. Thank you in advance, and apologies for the long-windedness.