Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: Donald P. Ryan, Beneath the Sands of Egypt

Seattle Times (Mary Ann Gwinn)

Given the rarefied job market for Egyptologists, it would be understandable if Donald P. Ryan highlighted the nastier bits about his job to star-struck young adventurers.

Sifting for bones and shards in windblasted dirt and 100-degree heat. Untangling the skein of regulations put in place by the Egyptian government to ensure that tomb looting never happens again. And the time that archaeologist Ryan, crawling down a tunnel in Tenerife, was struck by an "eerie tingling feeling on my skin," he writes in his new book. Scrambling out, he found he was "covered from head to toe with fleas," courtesy of feral dogs who kept cool underground.

But Ryan can't help himself: he loves his work, and his book, "Beneath the Sands of Egypt: Adventures of an Unconventional Archaeologist" (Morrow, 304 pp., $26.99), shows it.

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