Donald Ryan

Faculty Fellow


Office Location:Hauge Administration Building - Room 220 L

  • Professional
  • Biography
  • Personal


  • Ph.D., Archaeology, Union Graduate School, The Union Institute , Cincinnati, Ohio, 1988
  • M.A., Anthropology (Archaeology), University of Washington, 1982
  • B.A., Political Science (International Relations), Pacific Lutheran University, 1979

Selected Publications


Donald P. Ryan is best known for his research in Egypt including excavations in the Valley of the Kings. He has led many expeditions and is the author of nine books and numerous scientific and popular articles on archaeological subjects. For several years, Ryan worked closely with world-renowned Norwegian explorer, archaeologist and writer, the late Thor Heyerdahl, whose open-minded approach to the topic of early human use of the ocean was a hallmark of his remarkable research. Ryan is also a Research Associate at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway, and a Fellow of both The Explorers Club and The Royal Geographical Society.


* Directed excavations, conservation activities and research in Egypt’s ancient New Kingdom cemetery, the Valley of the Kings:
– excavated and documented seven undecorated tombs.
– rediscovered the lost tomb KV 60 in which was found a mummy since identified as the female pharaoh, Hatshepsut.
– conducted a field season dedicated to conservation.

* Served as the full-time research collaborator of Thor Heyerdahl during the last seven years of Heyerdahl’s life including co-directing excavations at the Piramides de Guimar, Tenerife, Canary Islands.

* Conducted field work with Hawaiian petroglyphs.

* Author of nine books (with translations in German, French, Spanish, Russian, Romanian and Hungarian) including an archaeological memoir (Beneath the Sands of Egypt in German, Im Band der Pharaonen) and a travel guide to pharaonic Egypt (Ancient Egypt on Five Deben a Day). Author of dozens of popular and scientific articles.

* Presenter of scholarly papers at dozens of US and international conferences and presenter of numerous invited guest popular lectures.

* Work has been featured in television programs produced by BBC, Discovery Channel, History Channel and others.

* College/University instructor for 30+ years including courses in history, archaeology, Egyptology, anthropology, writing, expedition training.

* Awards included Pacific Lutheran University Outstanding Alum (2010) and Vancouver Award (Explorers Club Northwest Chapter – 2011)

* Former professional mountain guide/mountaineering instructor.


  • Egyptian archaeology, Polynesian archaeology, history of exploration, ancient languages and scripts.