Martin Biddle

Martin Biddle, CBE, FBA, FSA (born 4 June 1937) is a British archaeologist and academic. He is an emeritus fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. His work was important in the development of medieval and post-medieval archaeology in Great Britain.

Martin Biddle
Born (1937-06-04) 4 June 1937 (age 83)
OccupationProfessor of Medieval Archaeology
EmployerUniversity of Oxford
Spouse(s)Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle

Early lifeEdit

Biddle was born on 4 June 1937.[1] He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, a public boys school in Hertfordshire.[2] He went on to study at Pembroke College, Cambridge, graduating Bachelor of Arts (BA). This was later upgraded to Master of Arts (MA).[1]

Academic careerEdit

Biddle was a lecturer in medieval archaeology at the University of Exeter from 1963 to 1967. From 1977 to 1981, he was Professor of Anthropology and of History of Art at University of Pennsylvania, and director of its Penn Museum. He was Astor Senior Research Fellow in medieval archaeology at Hertford College, Oxford between 1989 and 2002, and also Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Oxford from 1997 to 2002.[3]

Biddle and his wife Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle examined Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre to explore the long-rumoured site of the tomb where Jesus was brought after his crucifixion. This meticulous study set out to define what is known about the tomb and the Aedicule, the little shrine that has covered the tomb since the early fourth century.

Proceeding backward from the present, they examined the site in detail, its appearances, and its destructions and rebuilding through the centuries, a survey that was constructed without restrictions, using traditional methods of architectural archaeology and the most recent techniques of photogrammetry.[4]



Biddle was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1997 New Year Honours 'for services to the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England'.[8] He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to archaeology.[9]

On 1 January 1964, Biddle was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA).[10] In 1985, he was elected Fellow of the British Academy (FBA).[11] He served as president of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society from 2011 to 2014.

Sackler LectureEdit

In 2012, Raymond Sackler and his wife Beverly endowed a series of lectures in honour of Norman Hammond. These lectures are co-hosted by Peterhouse, Cambridge, and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. The third Sackler lecture in honour of Norman Hammond was given on 27 February 2017 at Peterhouse by Biddle on "Capital Considerations: Winchester and the Birth of Urban Archaeology".[12]

Select worksEdit

  • Biddle, Martin; Hudson, Daphne M (1 April 1973). Future of London's Past. ISBN 0-903789-01-9.
  • Biddle, Martin (1989). "Introduction". Anglo-Saxon and Mediaeval Archaeology, History and Art, with special reference to Sutton Hoo: The highly important Working Library and Archive of more than 6,000 titles formed by Dr. Rupert L.S. Bruce-Mitford FBA, D.Litt., FSA. Wickmere: Merrion Book Co.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Biddle, Martin; Avni, Gideon (7 July 2000). The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. ISBN 0-8478-2282-6.


  1. ^ a b "Martin BIDDLE". People of Today. Debrett's. Archived from the original on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Classics". Merchant Taylors’ School. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Biddle, Prof. Martin". Who's Who 2020. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2019. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-7496. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  4. ^ retrieved from The Tomb of Christ (2001). PBS series. see also Martin Biddle (2000) The Tomb of Christ
  5. ^ "Briton Finds Site of Saxon Church". The New York Times. 22 August 1962. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Viking Dig Reports". BBC. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  7. ^ Leonard, Tom (6 November 2001). "Viking Skeleton Shows Anglo-Saxon's Thirst for Blood". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  8. ^ "No. 54625". The London Gazette. 30 December 1996. pp. 9–10.
  9. ^ "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b9.
  10. ^ "Martin Biddle". Society of Antiquaries of London. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  11. ^ "BIDDLE, Professor Martin, CBE". British Academy Fellows. British Academy. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  12. ^ "video of lecture". Retrieved 22 October 2018.

External linksEdit