Biography of Susan Heuck Allen, author of Classical Spies Susan Heuck Allen is a visiting scholar in the Department of Classics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She has taught archaeology at Yale University and Smith College and other New England institutions as well as Semester at Sea and the University of the Aegean. She lectures nationally and internationally for the Archaeological Institute of America, and chairs its Archives and Women in Archaeology Committees. She has served as the president of the AIA’s Narragansett Society and a member of the Board of Directors of the Providence Athenaeum and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. She has received a Senior Research Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2006), a Seeger Fellowship at Princeton University’s Program in Hellenic Studies (2007), and the Andrew Mellon Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society (2008) to support the research for this book. Previous awards include a Fulbright to Cyprus, a fellowship from the American Philosophical Society, the Pomerance Fellowship of the Archaeological Institute of America, and the George A. Barton Fellowship of the American Schools of Oriental Research and has delivered scholarly papers at conferences at Harvard and Yale Universities and in the UK, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Israel, and Cyprus.
Allen was born in Cincinnati where her father introduced her to archaeology. She earned a history degree from Smith College, a master’s in preclassical archaeology from the University of Cincinnati, and a PhD in classical archaeology from Brown University. During this time, Allen became a member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, a scholarly institution in Greece devoted to furthering American research and excavation in the Aegean. For six years she served as alumni representative to its managing committee.
Allen began as a dirt archaeologist on Bronze Age sites spanning the Eastern Mediterranean in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. She worked with the British School at Athens at Knossos on Crete, a joint Greek and American School of Classical Studies at Athens excavation at Epidaurus, and the University of Cincinnati Excavations on the Cycladic island of Kea where she first heard about her professor’s covert work at ouzo hour. On Cyprus, she helped discover a Late Bronze Age site from the time of Tutankhamun while surveying the line of a new road to be built between Nicosia and Limassol (Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios, Vasilikos Valley Project). Allen also excavated at a Philistine site in Israel (Tel Miqne-Ekron) and conducted informal surveys in western Turkey near the site of Troy, the subject of her dissertation.
While working for the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC, Allen researched and wrote for Peoples and Places of the Past: an Archaeological Atlas of the Ancient World. She swam the Hellespont, from Asia to Europe in 1997 as part of her research for the Troy book and won a silver medal.
Allen has devoted her recent research to the history of archaeology, the subject of her two books: Finding the Walls of Troy: Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik (1999, University of California Press, History Book Club and Book of the Month Club) and Excavating Our Past: Perspectives on the History of the Archaeological Institute of America (2002). During the preparation of the AIA volume, she became intrigued with women’s roles in the field, the subject of several articles and a forthcoming book. Her research concerning Anglophone communities in the Ottoman Empire grew out of her Troy book as did a continuing interest in the straits, the subject of an essay in The Black Sea Region: Past, Present, Future, Proceedings of the British Academy (2007) and her role as on-screen scholarly commentator for films for the History Channel and PBS. Her most recent essay on the Archaeological Institute of America’s earliest excavation in Turkey and archaeological diplomacy with the Ottoman Empire is being published by the Istanbul Archaeological Museum in its catalogue to the exhibition, Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands (2010). She has numerous other articles and reviews in different journals and collections. Since 2005, Allen has addressed the Gregg Centre for War and Society at the University of New Brunswick, and delivered three papers at the biennial symposia of the Modern Greek Studies Association on the subject of the OSS archaeologists and US intelligence efforts in World War II Greece.