John Bennet - Director 2015-2022

Prof. John Bennet is a British archaeologist and classicist who until very recently was Director of the British School at Athens since 2015. He specialises in the archaeology of the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of the Bronze Age Aegean, the archaeology and history of Crete and early writing systems, especially Linear B. He has been Professor of Aegean Archaeology at the University of Sheffield since 2004 and has taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Wisconsin-Madison and Oxford where he was Sinclair and Rachel Hood Lecturer in Aegean Prehistory (named for the archaeologists Rachel and Sinclair Hood, also former Director of the British School at Athens). Bennet has written extensively on Minoan civilization including the book A Short History of the Minoans (2018).

John Bennet was born in Singapore and grew up in Yorkshire. He was educated at the University of Cambridge where he read classics and was awarded his PhD on Late Minoan Crete in 1986. He is married to fellow-academic, Deborah Harlan, who was Archives Researcher at the British School at Athens until very recently. John Bennet’s inclusion in this exhibition was very important (although unknown to him), because, as the most recent Director of the School, he was responsible for doing much to make the School more modern and accessible and to widening its appeal and approach. He also led the School through the severely challenging Covid-19 pandemic. As Director, he fostered the use of social media, a BSA You Tube channel, blogs and other modern techniques and innovations, including embracing Lego Classicists.

Prof. Bennet has also played an important part in the development of Lego Classicists through his collaboration and support. I am very grateful for his support and friendship and it is largely through him that my love of the BSA and its important work has strengthened and solidified. He is an important part of the BSA story that this exhibition aims to tell.John Bennet was awarded Lego Classicist of the Year in 2020 for his work to make classics approachable and engaging and his willingness to play.

Artist’s Note: John Bennet was already inducted into the LC Family, but like Arthur Evans, John was too important to leave out of this group, especially since during his time as Director of the School, he has collaborated with and supported Lego Classicists so much. His new LEGO portrait is very similar to his original look, however this time, the torso is of my own custom design. In this portrait, I hope he maintains his serious yet light-hearted and open demeanor.