Allyson Blanck

First Year

Allyson is an alumna of the University of La Verne (ULV), where she completed a dual BS/BA in Anthropology and Art History in 2018, with a particular focus on bioarcheology and representations of the body. At ULV she completed a senior thesis on cranial surgery, looking at documentation practices in contrast with success rates in pre-modern cultures around the world. This project sparked an interest in archeology and ancient medicine, particularly in the Mediterranean region, that has propelled Allyson into the discipline of Classics. In 2020 she received a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Classics from the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA), where she focused on developing her translation skills in Latin and Ancient Greek. Following this, in 2022 Allyson earned an MA in Classics, with an emphasis in Classical Archeology, from the University of Arizona (UA). Her MA thesis titled "Bandages and Plasters as Wound Care in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Review of the Ancient Evidence and Experimental Analysis" was awarded the departmental thesis award. Her research brought together text, iconography, and archaeological material concerning wound care, which culminated in the successful experimental recreation of several medical plaster recipes. She has also worked on archeological excavations in Ireland, Spain, and most recently in Greece at the Athenian Agora - along with her service dog, Bo. Allyson is openly Disabled and Autistic, and she is a frequent contributor to various disability advocacy outlets connected to the humanities, and particularly classical archeology. Most recently, she has co-authored a book chapter, under review, with Dr Debby Sneed (CSULB) on the importance of studying disability in the ancient world. She has also been featured on panels organized by Cardiff University (Zoo Archaeology Saves the World) and the Smithsonian National Institute (Accessing Archeology), and participated in "The Dirt" podcast series. In 2021 Allyson also presented a paper titled "A Service Dog in The Field: Accommodating Non-Traditional Medical Equipment" at the Society for American Archeology national conference.

Allyson plans to continue her study of ancient medicine at ISAW, with a particular focus on the practical realities of healing, such as surgical treatments, vulnerology, and functional care of chronic illness. Her work engages with both medical literature and archeology, and she hopes to create a bridge between the gap between the analysis of archeological materials (ranging from medical objects to human skeletal remains) and the longstanding literary history of medicine. She also hopes to continue advocating for increased accessibility on archeological sites, and a more accessible academic environment for emerging disabled classicists.