Dr. Tana Allen

Dr. Tana Allen

My research interests focus on the development of ancient Roman healing spas and their integration into concepts of health within imperial society. I am concerned with the evidence for the healing spas as represented both in the archaeological record, including epigraphic material, and the abundant references that proliferate in the technical and non-technical texts. My aim is to decipher the means by which Romans availed of their health care options.

To a large degree, my research targets the experience of the individual within a social context rather than the development of the institution. I have more recently begun to investigate the ways in which ancient spa bathing informs modern practices and have undertaken exploratory work at several contemporary spa resorts in both Europe and North America.

I have also regularly contributed to archaeological activities with several chapters published on artifacts recovered from sites in North Africa.


Ph.D. 1998 University of Alberta, Roman Healing Spas in Italy: A Study in Design and Function

M.A., 1992, University of Texas at Austin, The Lamps of Metaponto: Catalogue and Commentary

B.A., 1990, Amherst College, Major in Classics and English


  • “The Lamps,” in D. Stone and N. Ben Lazreg (eds.) Leptiminus (Lampta): Report no. 3, JRA Supplementary Series no. 87 (Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 2011) 387-401.
  • “Minor objects of stone, ceramic and bone,” in S. Stevens et al. A Cemetery of Vandalic Date at Carthage, JRA Supplementary Series no. 75 (Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 2009) 207-216.
  • “Baiae in Africa: Attitudes to Bathing and Health in the Anthologia Latina,” in Contrôle et distribution de l’eau dans le Maghreb antique et médiévale, Collection d d’école française de Rome 426 (Rome, 2010) 165-175.
  • “The Development and Use of Healing Spas in the Roman World,” chapter in D. Soren (ed.) An Ancient Roman Spa at Mezzomiglio: Chianciano Terme, Tuscany, BAR International Series (Oxford, 2006) 115-120.
  • Selected Scholarly Lectures
    “Aquae Muris: Seeking Ancient Precedents in Modern Spas,” Atlantic Classical Association, St. John’s, Newfoundland, October 14-15, 2011.
  • “A Change of Setting: Travel and Health in the Recommendations of Caelius Aurelianus,” American Association for the History of Medicine, Halifax, May 8-9, 2006.
    “Documenting the Clientele at Roman Healing Spas,” Classical Association of Canada, Banff, AB, May 2005.