The Egypt Study Society (ESS) is an organization for people who are interested in ancient Egypt. ESS welcomes anyone with similar interests to participate. ESS programs include lectures, slide and video presentations, seminars, hands on workshops, and an annual picnic. Well known egyptologists and knowledgeable ESS members make presentations throughout the year.
You can find the latest lectures by visiting Next Lecture page or the Upcoming Lectures page. You can view our monthly newsletter, The Scribe's Palette, for current info about ESS and news about ancient Egypt. You can read the full archive of our journal, The Ostracon.
Our society is a non-profit educational organization based in Denver, Colorado, USA, and is an associate group of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Many ESS members assit the DMNS with exhibitions and projects connected with Egypt.
The term, “Yellow Coffins” refers to a group of ancient Egyptian coffins characterized by their color scheme and design as well as by the location of their production and primary use. The exterior of the lid and case have polychrome scenes painted in red, blue, and green on a yellow background. High quality coffins are also decorated on their interior and exist in sets composed of an outer and inner coffin with lids and a full-length mummy board. They were manufactured in Thebes from the later 18th Dynasty until the early part of the 22nd Dynasty.
More than 1000 yellow coffins have been discovered. While the origin of some is unknown, many others have been excavated on the West Bank at Thebes where they occur as intrusive burials in New Kingdom tombs or as parts of caches in undecorated tombs excavated during the TIP. They were used primarily for the burials of members of the cult of Amun and other local gods.
Yellow coffins can be found in nearly every museum with any sort of Egyptian collection, and this world-wide dispersal has hampered their study as a group. Nonetheless, they have served as the chief source of historical information for Dynasty 21 about the genealogy of officials’ families, the hereditary nature of titles, organization of cults, and state bureaucracy. After nearly a century of study, the yellow coffins have recently begun to offer a new perspective on that period with the recognition that many Dynasty 21 coffins were re-used, evidently with official sanction. This research is providing new insights into changing funerary customs and religious beliefs of the TIP as well social adjustments. The Wayne County Historical Museum’s coffin will be used as an example of this latest effort.
Dr. Sampsell holds a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Iowa and was a college professor for 25 years. After retiring, she devoted herself to the study of ancient Egypt. She has traveled widely in Egypt (more than 20 trips) to study its geography, geology, and ancient monuments. She wrote seven articles for The Ostracon and has made three prior presentations to the ESS. She is the author of The Geology of Egypt, a Traveler’s Handbook and a Kmt article on ancient Egyptian dwarfs. Since 2006, she has been a Guest Curator at the Wayne County Historical Museum (in her hometown of Richmond, Indiana) where she has been studying their small collection of Egyptian artifacts including an usual Third Intermediate Period coffin and mummy.