Neha Patil (Editor)

Colleen Manassa

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Yale University


Alma mater
Yale University

Colleen Manassa Dr Colleen Manassa Darnel

St. Louis, Missouri

Imagining the Past: Historical Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt, The great Karnak inscription of Merneptah

Colleen Manassa (born 1980, St. Louis, MO) is an American Egyptologist and the Marilyn M. and William K. Simpson Associate Professor at Yale University. She received her BA at Yale University in 2001 and her PhD from the same institution in 2005. Her areas of expertise include Late Period uses of the Underworld Books, ancient Egyptian military history, and the literature of New Kingdom Egypt. In a forthcoming book, Imagining the Past: Historical Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt (Oxford University Press), she proposes the existence of some of the first examples of historical fiction in the history of world literature. As an author, she has been largely collected by libraries worldwide.


Colleen Manassa Dr Colleen Manassa Darnel

Her research in Egyptian military history has led to the first recreation of the tactics of the Battle of Perire, ca. 1208 BCE and her study The Great Karnak Inscription of Merneptah "replaces all other earlier studies of the key historical narratives relating Merneptah's war against the Libyans." Her research on the military role that Tutankhamun might have taken on as pharaoh of Egypt contributed to Tutankhamun's Armies: Battle and Conquest in Ancient Egypt's Late Eighteenth Dynasty (co-authored with John Darnell) and was featured in the historical section of the documentary "King Tut Unwrapped." Through books and documentaries, Manassa has brought ancient Egyptian warfare and tactics to the broader public.

Colleen Manassa httpsimagesnasslimagesamazoncomimagesI6

In Egypt, she has made several important archaeological discoveries as the director of the Moalla Survey Project, an ongoing archaeological project.

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In 2013, she curated an exhibition at the Yale Peabody Museum entitled “Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs."

Colleen Manassa Dr Colleen ManassaDarnell Egyptologist YouTube

Manassa is also a frequent contributor to the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and Science Channel, where she brings her expertise on Egyptian history, religion, mummification and military architecture to a wider audience. She currently serves on the Board of Governors to the American Research Center in Egypt.

Books and Research

Manassa is the author, co-author, or editor of five books, two of which were the recipient of the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research. Her over two dozen articles and book reviews cover a wide range of topics in the field of Egyptology.


  • 2013 Imagining the Past: Historical Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • 2013 Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs, New Haven: Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.
  • 2007 The Late Egyptian Underworld: Sarcophagi and Related Texts from the Nectanebid Period, 2 vols., Ägypten und Altes Testament 72, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. Winner of the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication, 2008.
  • 2007 Tutankhamun’s Armies: Battle and Conquest during Ancient Egypt’s Late Eighteenth Dynasty, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons (co-authored with J. Darnell)
  • 2003 The Great Karnak Inscription of Merneptah: Grand Strategy in the 13th Century B.C., Yale Egyptological Studies 5, New Haven: Yale Egyptological Seminar. Winner of the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication, 2008
  • Articles (edited and peer-reviewed)

  • 2013 “From Wool to Basketry: Materials, Contact Linguistics, and txbs(t) in Ancient Egypt,” Lingua Aegyptia, forthcoming.
  • 2013 “The Chariot that Plunders Foreign Lands: The Hymn to the King in His Chariot,” PalArch, under review.
  • 2013 “The Predynastic Period in the Provinces: A View from Moalla and the Northern Portion of the Third Nome,” in D. C. Patch and M. Adams, eds., Egypt at its Origins 4, forthcoming.
  • 2013 “Divine Taxonomy in the Underworld Books,” Archiv für Religionsgeschichte, forthcoming.
  • 2012 “The Natacha Rambova Archive, Yale University,” Göttinger Miszellen 234: 85- 100 (with Tasha Dobbin-Bennett).
  • 2012 “Nubians in the Third Upper Egyptian Nome: A View from Moalla,” in I. Förstner-Müller and P. Rose, eds., Nubian Pottery from Egyptian Cultural Contexts of the Middle and Early New Kingdom, Vienna, pp. 115–126.
  • 2012 “Middle Nubian Ceramics from Umm Mawagir, Kharga Oasis,” in I. Förstner Müller and P. Rose, eds., Nubian Pottery from Egyptian Cultural Contexts of the Middle and Early New Kingdom, Vienna, pp. 127–146.
  • 2011 “Loaves and Zirs: A Re-examination of a Hieratic Text from Abydos,” Göttinger Miszellen 229: 81-88.
  • 2011 “El-Mo‘alla to El-Deir,” in W. Wendrich, et al., eds., UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology,, pp. 1–17.
  • 2011 “Soundscapes in Ancient Egyptian Literature and Religion,” in E. Meyer Dietrich, ed., Laut und Leise: Der Gebrauch von Stimme und Klang in historischen Kulturen, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, pp. 147–172.
  • 2010 “Isis, Mistress of the Field. A New Reading of an Epithet in the Hor Ostraca,” Enchoria 32: 54-61.
  • 2010 “A Trustworthy Seal-Bearer on a Mission: The Monuments of Sabastet from the Khephren Diorite Quarries,” in R. Parkinson and H.-W. Fischer-Elfert, eds., Studies in Honor of Detlef Franke (with J. Darnell), forthcoming.
  • 2010 “The New Kingdom,” in I. Shaw and J. Allen, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Egyptian Archaeology, forthcoming.
  • 2010 “Defining Historical Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt,” in S. Melville and A. Slotsky, eds., Opening the Tablet Box, Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Benjamin R. Foster, Leiden: Brill, pp. 245–269.
  • 2009 “Preliminary Report for the 2008-2009 Season of the Mo‘alla Survey Project,” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 45: 57-77.
  • 2009 “A Graffito of Paris in Luxor Temple and the Myth of Helen’s eidolon,” Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 136: 141-149.
  • 2008 “Sounds of the Netherworld,” Mythos & Ritual, Festschrift für Jan Assmann zum 70. Geburtstag, B. Rothöhler and A. Manisali, eds., Religionswissenschaft: Forschung und Wissenschaft Bd. 5, Münster: LIT Verlag, pp. 109–135.
  • 2006 “The Judgment Hall of Osiris in the Book of Gates,” Revue d’Egyptologie 57: 109-149.
  • 2006 “The Crimes of Count Sabni Reconsidered,” Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 133: 151-163.
  • 2002 “Two Unpublished Memphite Relief Fragments in the Yale Art Gallery,” Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur 30: 255-267.
  • Archaeological Work

    In 2008, she created the Moalla Survey Project, an archaeological survey expedition in Egypt (under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities) that has discovered several important new sites on the east bank of the Nile approximately 45 south of Luxor, ranging in date from the late Predynastic period through the late Roman period. In 2010, she discovered an extensive late Roman settlement with over a hundred distinct structures. Within the necropolis of Moalla, the Moalla Survey Project also discovered a Nubian Pan Grave cemetery (ca. 1600 BCE), and the importance of the Nubian cemetery at the site of Moalla has been recognized in other publications. In 2010, Manassa presented the first identification of Nubian (Pan Grave) pottery manufactured at the site of Umm Mawagir in Kharga Oasis. This ceramic analysis reveals new interactions between Nubian and Egyptian populations in the oases.

    Museum Work

    As curator of “Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs,” Manassa assembled nearly one hundred objects, ranging from ancient Egyptian objects to pieces that span two millennia of fascination with ancient Egypt. Critically acclaimed in a review by the New York Times, the exhibition has been called “an ambitious... landmark exhibition,” with “careful curation," the exhibit has achieved critical success. The exhibition is accompanied by a print catalog and a complete online catalog, including a driving tour of Connecticut Egyptian revival buildings. The online tour of the exhibit makes "Echoes of Egypt" one of the first internationally available on-line exhibits.


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