Friday, January 29, 2016


Donald P. Ryan .
Dr. Donald P. Ryan, Project Director is originally from Covina, California and moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend college  and to pursue mountain climbing.  In graduate school he studied archaeology with an emphasis on the history of archaeology and Egyptian archaeology. In 1989, he initiated the PLU Valley of the Kings Project to examine the neglected undecorated tombs in the royal cemetery.  Apart from research in Egypt, Don worked for several years with his boyhood hero, the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, a job that included excavations on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.  He's the author of many scientific and popular articles mostly on the subject of archaeology and exploration, and has written several books, including "Beneath the Sands of Egypt" which describes some of his work in the Valley of the Kings.  Don bears the title, Faculty Fellow in the Humanities at Pacific Lutheran University and is an elected Fellow of both The Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society.  He must be quite a fellow!

Paul Buck 

Dr. Paul Buck joins us from the University of Nevada and the Desert Research Institute with decades of experience as a field archaeologist, including extensive work at sites in Egypt.
(In fact, Paul and Don both visited Egypt for the first in 1981 when they worked together as members of their professor's archaeological project.)  Paul's many skills include his expertise as an excavator with a specialty knowledge in the application of geology to archaeology,  Apart from Egypt, Paul has investigated a variety of archaeological sites in western North America,  His enthusiasm and positive perspective add much to our project.

Erik Johannesson

Dr. Erik Johannesson is originally from Sweden and is an expert on burial practices with over fifteen years of experience working on funerary materials and stone monuments across the ancient world.  Upon visiting Egypt in his childhood, he developed a keen interest in archaeology and ancient tombs and went on to earn graduate degrees in Classical Archaeology and in Anthropology. Johannesson has conducted archaeological research in Mongolia, Russia, Greece, and throughout North America, and brings insightful knowledge in addition to his sharp Swedish humor. 

Salima Ikram x-raying mummified food.

Dr. Salima Ikram is a well-known name in modern Egyptology.  Her areas of expertise include the study of mummies (especially animal mummies) and funerary archaeology.  She is a professor of Egyptology and the author of many scientific articles and books on the subject.  Salima has participated in dozens of archaeological projects and you may have seen her on numerous television programs with her great enthusiasm for all things ancient Egypt.  

Denis Whitfill

Denis Whitfill is from Southern California and met dig director, Don Ryan, sometime "back in the '70's" through a mutual interest in climbing and other outdoor pursuits.  Denis possesses many skills useful to archaeology, including photography and a creative approach to solving equipment issues, There is nothing he can't fix with duct tape and some wire.  Denis is a valuable asset and has participated in archaeological projects in Hawaii, the Canary Islands and Egypt.  This will be his sixth expedition in the Valley of the Kings.


Brian "Gordy" Holmes

Brian "Gordy" Holmes is a retired professional archaeologist and college instructor now living in Canada.  We highly value his friendship, archaeological insights, and sage advice.

Rose Campbell

Rose Campbell is a Ph.D, student at UCLA specializing in the study of human remains.  Her Master's thesis was on the topic of undecorated tombs in the Valley of the Kings and she worked on our project in 2011 and 2015.  Rose has also been involved in archaeological projects elsewhere in Egypt and in such places as Peru, Ethiopia, and Montana.

Mojca Jereb

Mojca Jereb is a professional archaeologist from Slovenia.  She worked with us in 2008 and 2015.  Her versatile skills include extensive experience in excavation and artifact studies.  She is a delightful colleague.

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