Beneath the Sands of Egypt: Adventures of an Unconventional Archaeologist

Beneath the Sands of Egypt: Adventures of an Unconventional Archaeologist

3.7 14
by Donald P., PhD Ryan PhD
     
 

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“Donald Ryan is a rare bird—a field archaeologist who can write with verve and immediacy. I heartily recommend his book to all Egyptology buffs.”
—Barbara Mertz ( a.k.a. Elizabeth Peters), author of Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs

 

A real-life “Indiana Jones,” Donald P. Ryan, Ph.D., offers a

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Overview

“Donald Ryan is a rare bird—a field archaeologist who can write with verve and immediacy. I heartily recommend his book to all Egyptology buffs.”
—Barbara Mertz ( a.k.a. Elizabeth Peters), author of Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs

 

A real-life “Indiana Jones,” Donald P. Ryan, Ph.D., offers a breathtaking personal account of his adventures in archaeology in Beneath the Sands of Egypt. Fans of The Lost City of Z will thrill to the exploits of this “unconventional archaeologist” as he retrieves the remains of Egypt’s past—including his breakthrough discovery in the Valley of the Kings of Egypt’s famous female pharaoh, Hatshepsut.

Editorial Reviews

St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Any writer who can make you interested in old rope is worth reading."
Booklist
"This wonderful adventure story should be must reading for anyone aspiring to become an archaeologist, but even those of us who harbor no such dreams will be aching to get a little dirt under our fingernails."
a.k.a. Elizabeth Peters - Barbara Mertz
"Don Ryan is a rare bird – a field archaeologist who can write with verve and immediacy. I heartily recommend his book to all Egyptology buffs."
Booklist (starred review)
“This wonderful adventure story should be must reading for anyone aspiring to become an archaeologist, but even those of us who harbor no such dreams will be aching to get a little dirt under our fingernails.”
Library Journal
American archaeologist Ryan (Faculty Fellow in Humanities, Pacific Lutheran Univ.) is best known for his projects in Egypt, most recently in the Valley of the Kings, Thebes. In this action-packed memoir, Ryan's aim is to "share the adventure and perhaps educate, entertain, and even inspire." He accomplishes this with evocative writing and excellent, detailed descriptions of fieldwork in Egypt, be it clearing mud brick in the Fayyum or excavating a series of tombs in the Valley of the Kings. He captures well the joys and hazards involved in fieldwork, as well as the rapport that develops with colleagues and workers. He acknowledges the hospitality of Egyptian villagers along with the renowned epigraphic surveys conducted by the University of Chicago and Chicago House in Luxor and literally follows in the steps of Howard Carter, the discoverer of Tutankhamen's tomb, doing full justice to Carter's life and work. He also takes the surprising stance of speaking up for Giovanni Belzoni, the 19th-century adventurer whose name and exploits in Egypt are traditionally viewed as anathema in the history of Egyptology. Unfortunately, there are no footnotes or bibliography to guide the reader to additional sources. VERDICT An enthusiastically written book for readers from YA to armchair adventure lovers who dream of being archaeologists or Egyptologists.—Joan W. Gartland, Macomb Community Coll. Lib., Warren, MI
Kirkus Reviews
The memoir of a world-renowned archaeologist and Egyptologist. Ryan (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Lost Civilizations, 2007, etc.) takes the reader behind the scenes of the life of a typical archaeologist, who leads anything but the "dangerous, swashbuckling life" of characters like Indiana Jones. While many of his expeditions involve the excitement of discovery, he writes, most of his time is spent meticulously sifting through sand to rescue and piece together buried artifacts and then trying to puzzle out their meaning. Ryan's first love was mountaineering, but he became fascinated with Egyptology and archaeology during his senior year in college, when he saw the travelling exhibit of King Tut ("a blockbuster exhibition that has yet to be surpassed") and switched from a major in political science to the study of anthropology and archaeology. During the following years, while he received grants which paid the bills for his explorations in Egypt, he also supported himself, his wife and son by teaching and lecturing, writing books and consulting on BBC specials. On one occasion during filming, he jumped through a cleft in the rocks to rescue a member of the cast caught on a ledge and was almost killed when a dislodged rock hit his head. In 1989, he made the exciting discovery of a mummified body that was later identified as controversial female pharaoh Hatshepsut. Though Ryan made it clear that he was not officially labeling the find as such, the discovery received a premature banner headline in a British paper that read "Ancient Egypt's Lost Queen Found in Humble Tomb." In 1995, the author began a seven-year collaboration with Thor Heyerdahl to gather evidence for Heyerdahl's contention that ancient cultures made contact through ocean voyages. Ryan continues to work diligently at his craft, noting that "each time we come across something new, whether artifacts from the past or ideas from the mind, it's a discovery."An entertaining, illuminating adventure story by a modern-day explorer.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062002808
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/29/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
244,725
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Barbara Mertz ( a.k.a. Elizabeth Peters)
“Don Ryan is a rare birda field archaeologist who can write with verve and immediacy. I heartily recommend his book to all Egyptology buffs.”

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