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Cyriacus Pizzecolli of Ancona was the first to travel solely to discover, observe and analyze historic monuments and, Belozerskaya convincingly argues in this charming and intriguing book, a key figure in the birth of archeology. A clerk in the bustling Renaissance port city, Pizzecolli's business trips took him to Greece and Asia Minor. He was unrelentingly curious and restless and while fascination with classical texts was widespread in the mid-15th century, few investigated the ancient physical remains. Pizzecolli educated himself in classical civilization in order to understand and preserve thousands of artifacts from ancient Greece and Rome, his true profession being, according to Cyriacus himself, "to wake the dead" of antiquity. Art historian Belozerskaya (The Medici Giraffe) writes with verve and aplomb, transporting us to 15th-century Rome, Constantinople, Florence, Greece and its islands, where he made sketches of antiquities later used by Raphael and da Vinci. Belozerskaya has written a well-researched history of an important yet relatively unknown figure that deftly integrates Renaissance social, cultural and political history. 25 illus. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.