John Bennet was born in Singapore and grew up in the UK, in Yorkshire. He read Classics at Cambridge, where he also completed his PhD on the administrative organization of Late Minoan II–IIIB Crete based on archaeological and textual (Linear B) evidence and held a Junior Research Fellowship.
From 1986 to 1998 he taught in the Department of Classics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison before taking up the Sinclair & Rachel Hood Lecturership in Aegean Prehistory at Oxford.
In 2004 he was appointed to his current chair at the University of Sheffield, where he also directs the Sheffield Centre for Aegean Archaeology.
From 1 October 2015, John will be based in Greece as Director of the British School at Athens.
- Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London
- Secretary General, Comité International Permanent des Études Mycéniennes (2015-2020)
- Director, British School at Athens (2015-2020)
- Guest Professor, University of Göteborg (2009)
- Trustee, Mediterranean Archaeological Trust
Editorial / Advisory Boards
Aegean Archaeology; Cambridge Classical Journal; MINOS: Revista de Filología Egea y del Epos Arcaico; Oxford Journal of Archaeology; Oxford Monographs in Classical Archaeology; Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology.
2011 ‘In Our Time’, BBC Radio 4, ‘Minoan Crete’ (7 July)
2006 ‘Last Word’, BBC Radio 4 (7 April)
2002 ‘A Very English Genius: How Michael Ventris Cracked Linear B’, BBC TV
John’s academic interests include:
- the archaeology of complex societies (particularly the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of the Bronze Age Aegean)
- the archaeology and history of Crete
- early writing and administrative systems (especially Linear B)
- diachronic regional studies
- integration of material and textual evidence
- Ottoman Greece
- combining material and textual data in study of the past
He has published on Late Bronze Age Crete and mainland Greece, on Linear B, and on historical Greece, often explicitly integrating material and textual evidence, and has carried out fieldwork in Crete (Knossos; Phaistos region; Hania region), mainland Greece (Pylos region) and the islands (Keos; Kythera).
Current research projects / collaborations
John recently completed two seasons of geophysical survey (July 2010; January 2011) on Lower Gypsades Hill, Knossos, Crete in collaboration with Drs Amy Bogaard (Oxford) and Eleni Hatzaki (Cincinnati) to investigate the layout of Bronze Age Knossos' southern suburbs.
- Angela Marzia Catania - 'The iconography of decorated larnakes pertaining to the late Bronze Age, originating from Crete and continental Greece'
Recent projects supervised
- Towards a social bioarchaeology of the Mycenaean period: A multi-disciplinary analysis of funerary remains from the Late Helladic chamber tomb cemetery of Voudeni, Achaea, Greece (supervised with Pia Nystrom)
- A comparative study of the archaeology of writing in the Bronze Age Aegean
Y. Galanakis, T.C. Wilkinson and J. Bennet (eds) 2014. ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt. Oxford: Archaeopress.
T. Wilkinson, S. Sherratt and J. Bennet (eds) 2011. Interweaving Worlds: Systemic Interactions in Eurasia, 7th to 1st Millennia BC. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
J. Baines, J. Bennet and S.D. Houston (eds) 2008. The Disappearance of Writing Systems Perspectives on Literacy and Communication. London: Equinox.
F. Zarinebaf, J. Bennet and J.L. Davis. 2005. A Historical and Economic Geography of Ottoman Greece: The Southwestern Morea in the Early 18th Century. Hesperia Supplement 34. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
J. Bennet and J.M. Driessen (eds) 2002. A-NA-QO-TA: Studies Presented to J.T. Killen (= Minos 33–34 [1998-1999]). Salamanca: University of Salamanca Press.
T. Pape, P. Halstead, J. Bennet and Y. Stangidis. 2014. “For it is written”: an experimental approach to the materiality and temporality of clay documents inscribed in Linear B. In Y. Galanakis, T.C. Wilkinson and J. Bennet (eds), ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt (Oxford: Archaeopress), 177-85.
J. Bennet. 2014. Linear B and Homer. In Y. Duhoux & A. Morpurgo Davies (eds), A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World, vol. 3 (Leuven: Peeters), 187-233.
J. Bennet. 2013. Epilogue. In Kathryn E. Piquette and Ruth D. Whitehouse (eds), Writing as Material Practice: Substance, surface and medium (London: Ubiquity Press), 335-42. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/bai.q
J. Bennet. 2013. Minoan Crete: a world of objects, a world of places. In Galanakis, Y. (ed.). The Aegean World. A Companion Guide to the Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean Collections in the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. (Oxford / Athens: Ashmolean Museum / Kapon Editions) 102-117.
J. Bennet. 2013. Bronze Age Greece. In P. Bang & W. Scheidel (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the State in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press) 235-58.
J. Bennet. 2011. The Geography of the Mycenaean Kingdoms. In Y. Duhoux & A. Morpurgo Davies (eds), A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World, vol. 2 (Leuven: Peeters) 137-68.
C.W. Shelmerdine and J. Bennet. 2008. Mycenaean States: A. Economy & Administration. In C.W. Shelmerdine (ed.), Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age (New York: Cambridge University Press) 289-309.
J. Bennet. 2008. ‘Now you see it; now you don’t!’: the disappearance of the Linear A script on Crete. In J. Baines, S. Houston, & J. Bennet (eds), The Disappearance of Writing Systems (London: Equinox) 1-29.
J. Bennet. 2007. The Aegean Bronze Age. In I. Morris, R. Saller and W. Scheidel (eds), The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 175-210.
J. Bennet. 2007. Representations of Power in Mycenaean Pylos: Script, Orality, Iconography. In F. Lang, C. Reinholdt & J. Weilhartner (eds), ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ ΑΡΙΣΤΕΙΟΣ. Archäologische Forschungen zwischen Nil und Istros. Festschrift für Stefan Hiller zum 65. Geburtstag (Vienna: Phoibos Verlag) 11-22.
J. Bennet. 2018. Τα διαμερίσματα της Μεθώνης και του Ναβαρίνου. In O. Katsiardi-Hering (ed.) Βενετικοί χάρτες της Πελοποννήσου τέλη 17ου – αρχές 18ου Αιώνα (Athens: MIET) 314-47.
J. Bennet. 2017. Gelb and Gell in the Aegean: Thoughts on the Relations between ‘Writing’ and ‘Art’. In A.R. Knodell & T.P. Leppard (eds) Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity: Studies in Honour of John F. Cherry (Sheffield: Equinox) 59-74.
J. Bennet. 2017. Final Reflections. In A.M. Jasink, J. Weingarten and S. Ferrara (eds), Non-Scribal Communication Media in the Bronze Age Aegean and Surrounding Areas (Florence: Firenze University Press) 248-53.
J. Bennet. 2017. Reading Between the Lines: The Worlds of Linear B. In Y. Galanakis, A. Christofilopoulou and J. Grime (eds), Codebreakers and Groundbreakers (Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum) 28-42.
Full publications list
- John Baines, John Bennet, Stephen Houston (eds). 2008. The Disappearance of Writing Systems: Perspectives on Literacy and Communication. London: Equinox.
- Fariba Zarinebaf , John Bennet and Jack L. Davis. 2005. A historical and economic geography of Ottoman Greece: the southwestern Morea in the early 18th century. ( Hesperia Supplement 34) Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies
- John Bennet and Jan Driessen ( eds ). 2002. A-NA-QO-TA: Studies presented to J.T. Killen (= Minos 33–34 [1998-1999]). Salamanca: University of Salamanca Press
- J.L. Davis and J. Bennet (eds). 2017. The Pylos Regional Archaeological Project: A Retrospective (Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens)
- J. Bennet. 2014. ‘Literacies’ – 60+ years of ‘reading’ the Aegean Late Bronze Age. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 57.2: 132-42.
- Palace™: speculations on palatial production in Mycenaean Greece with (some) reference to glass. In C. Jackson & E. Wager (eds), Vitreous Material in the Late Bronze Age Aegean: A Window to the East Mediterranean World (Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 8). Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2008, 151-72.
- C.W. Shelmerdine and J. Bennet. 2008. Mycenaean States: A. Economy & Administration. In C.W. Shelmerdine (ed.), Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. New York: Cambridge University Press, 289-308.
- J. Bennet. 2008. `Now you see it; now you don't!': the disappearance of the Linear A script on Crete. In J. Baines, S. Houston, & J. Bennet (eds), The Disappearance of Writing Systems: Perspectives on Literacy and Communication. (London: Equinox) 1-29.
- Preface to the Second Edition [with Jack L. Davis]. In J.L. Davis (ed.), Sandy Pylos: An Archaeological History from Nestor to Navarino. Revised edition. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies, 2008, xix-xxxiii
- Fragmentary "Geo-metry": Early Modern Landscapes of the Morea and Cerigo in Text, Image, and Archaeology. In S. Davies & J.L. Davis (eds), Between Venice and Istanbul: Colonial Landscapes in Early Modern Greece. (Hesperia Supplement 40) Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies, 2007, 197-215
- The Aegean Bronze Age. In I. Morris, R. Saller & W. Scheidel (eds), The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 175-210.
- Representations of Power in Mycenaean Pylos: Script, Orality, Iconography. In F. Lang, C. Reinholdt, & J. Weilhartner (eds), ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ ΑΡΙΣΤΕΙΟΣ: Archäologische Forschungen zwischen Nil und Istros. Festschrift für Stefan Hiller zum 65. Geburtstag. Vienna, Phoibos Verlag, 2007, 11-22
- Response to E. Hallager , `The uniformity in seal use and sealing practice during the LH/LMIII period'. In A.L. D'Agata & J.A. Moody ( eds ), Ariadne's Threads: connections between Crete and the Greek mainland in the post-palatial period (LMIIIA2 to SM) . Rome: Italian School at Athens, 2005, 269-74
- Parallels and Contrasts: Early Mycenaean Mortuary Traditions in Messenia and Lakonia [with I. Galanakis ]. In A. Dakouri-Hild and E.S. Sherratt ( eds ), Autochthon. Paper presented to O.T.P.K. Dickinson on the occasion of his retirement . Oxford: BAR, 2005, 144-55
- Iconographies of value: words, things and people in the Aegean Late Bronze Age. In J. Barrett & P. Halstead ( eds ), The Emergence of Civilisation revisited . (Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 6) Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2004, 90-106
- Aphrodite Observed: Insularity and antiquities on Kythera through outsiders' eyes [with C. Broodbank and J.L. Davis]. In J.F. Cherry, C. Gamble & S. Shennan (eds ), Explaining social change: studies in honour of Colin Renfrew . Cambridge: McDonald Institute, 2004, 227-39
- The Field Survey [with L.V. Watrous and D. Hadzi-Vallianou ]. In L.V. Watrous , D. Hadzi-Vallianou and H. Blitzer ( eds ), The plain of Phaistos : cycles of social complexity in the Mesara Region of Cret e. (Monumenta Archaeologica 23) Los Angeles : Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, 2004, 3-17
- RE-U-KO-TO-RO ZA-WE-TE : Leuktron as a secondary capital in the Pylos kingdom?. In J. Bennet & J. Driessen ( eds ), A-NA-QO-TA: studies presented to J.T. Killen. Salamanca: University of Salamanca Press, 2002, 11-30
- Millennial Ambiguities. In Y. Hamilakis (ed.), Labyrinth revisited: rethinking Minoan archaeology . Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2002, 214-25
- Not the Palace of Nestor: the development of the `Lower Town' and other non-palatial settlements in LBA Messenia [with C.W. Shelmerdine]. In K. Branigan , ed. Urbanism in the Aegean . (Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 4) Sheffield: Continuum, 2001, 135-40
- Agency and Bureaucracy: Thoughts on the Nature & Extent of the Pylos Administration. In S. Voutsaki & J.T. Killen ( eds ), Economy and politics in the Mycenaean palace states . (Cambridge Philological Society suppl . vol. 27) Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 2001, 25-37
- J. Bennet. 2015. Telltale Depictions: A Contextual View of Mycenaean Wall-Paintings. In H. Brecoulaki, S.R. Stocker & J.L. Davis (eds), Telltale Depictions: A Contextual View of Mycenaean Wall Painting (Athens: KERA / ASCSA) 21-34.
- J. Bennet and D. Harlan. 2015. Academic Bilingualism: A Case Study in the Combination of textual and material data from post-Medieval Kythera. In J. Vroom (ed.), Medieval and Post-Medieval Ceramics in the Eastern Mediterranean: Fact and Fiction (Turnhout: Brepols) 17-46.
- J. Bennet. 2017. On Comparison in Linear B: Genetic, Historical or Analogical? In M.-L. Nosch & H. Landenius-Enegren (eds) Aegean Scripts: 14th International Congress, Copenhagen, 2-5 September 2015 (Rome: Incunabula Graeca) 461-73.
- J. Bennet. 2017. Palaces and Their Regions: Geographical Analysis of Territorial Exploitation in Late Bronze Age Crete and Greece. In P. Carlier†, F. Joannès, F. Rougemont, J. Zurbach (eds), Palatial Economy in the Ancient Near East and in the Aegean. First steps towards a comprehensive study and analysis. Acts of the ESF Exploratory Workshop held in Sèvres, 16-19 Sept. 2010 (Rome: Biblioteca di Pasiphae) 151-73.
Opening Key-Note Lecture, ‘Materials and Industries in the Mycenaean World’, University of Nottingham (9–10 May 2013)
Invited speaker, ‘Tradition & Innovation in the Mycenaean Palatial Polities’, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna (1-2 March 2013)
Invited speaker, ‘(Con-)texts: Towards a material and praxeological approach to the Linear B tablets’, University of Heidelberg (21-22 January 2012)
Key-Note Lecture, ‘Minoan Archaeology: Challenges & Perspectives for the 21st Century’, Heidelberg (23-27 March 2011)
Opening Key-Note Lecture, ‘Mycenaean Wall Paintings in Context: New Discoveries & Old Finds Reconsidered’, National Research Foundation–American School of Classical Studies at Athens (11-13 February 2011)
ESF Exploratory Workshop ‘Palatial Economy in the Ancient Near East and in the Aegean: First Steps Towards a Comprehensive Study and Analysis’, Sèvres (16-19 September 2010)
Invited participant, XIIIème colloque international sur les textes égéens, Sèvres, Nanterre, Paris (20-23 September 2010)
- World Civilisations
- Archaeology and Text
- Discoverers and Discoveries in Old World Archaeology
- The Classical World & its Legacy
- The Aegean in the Late Bronze Age
- Linear B & Mycenaean Greek: Writing, Reading & Interpreting
- Current Issues in Aegean Prehistory
- Mediterranean Landscapes
- Homeric Epics and the Archaeological Record
- Heritage, History & Identity
- Rethinking the Ancient Economy
- Research Design: Planning, Execution and Presentation