Susan Heuck Allen will be coming to speak at the Seminar in Comparative Medieval Material Culture on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. Her talk is entitled “Classical Spies: American Archaeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece.”

Susan Heuck Allen is Visiting Scholar in the Department of Classics at Brown University. She earned an AB in History from Smith College, an MA in Classical Archaeology from the University of Cincinnati, and a PhD in Classical Archaeology from Brown University. She has taught at various New England institutions, including Smith College, Yale University, Tufts University, and the Rhode Island School of Design. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, Princeton University’s Program in Hellenic Studies, the Fulbright Foundation (Cyprus), the Archaeological Institute of America (Greece and Turkey), and the American Schools of Oriental Research (Israel). Beginning as a dirt archaeologist, she worked on Bronze Age sites in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel before devoting her research to the history of archaeology, the subject of her books Finding the Walls of Troy: Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), and Excavating Our Past: Perspectives on the History of the Archaeological Institute of America (Boston: Archaeological Institute of America, 2002). She swam the Hellespont, from Asia to Europe, in 1997 as part of her research for Finding the Walls of Troy, and won a silver medal. Allen has appeared as an on-screen commentator in several films. She is a national and international lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America. Classical Spies: American Archaeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011), the first insider’s account of the operations of the American (pre-CIA) intelligence service, is her latest book.

Does truth lurk behind Indiana Jones? Susan Heuck Allen learned of her own professor’s cloak and dagger activities at ouzo hour on a Greek island. Her latest book, Classical Spies, is the fascinating story of an archaeologist-led secret intelligence service in World War II Greece. Based in Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey and Italy, this network drew on American scholars’ personal contacts and knowledge of languages and terrain. Dig buddies activated prep school connections as spies code-named Vulture and Chickadee and organized parachute drops, as they fought to rid Greece of its Nazi occupiers. One buried her Athenian excavation records in an Egyptian tomb. To get the story, Allen did her own sleuthing, interviewing veteran spies and shadowing archives on three continents to piece together this true account of the “extracurricular” intrigue and espionage of her professors’ generation during and after the Second World War.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required.

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. Registrants who arrive late may be seated in an overflow viewing area.