20th August 1918

Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born

Alderney-born archaeologist, Crystal-Margaret Rawlings, founded the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History, now known simply as the British Institute in Amman, she was its director for its first five years.

Bennett attended Bristol University, but not to study archaeology. That came later, in 1954, after she had been married to – and divorced from – Philip Bennett, whose surname she took. After the divorce, she moved in with Bennett’s mother and took her son with her.

When she enrolled at London’s Institute of Archaeology, aged 36, she concerned herself primarily with Roman sites and led excavations in Berkshire and Somerset.

Interest in the Middle East

Within three years, she had two diplomas under her belt and had turned her attention towards Palestine, Jericho, Petra and Jerusalem.

She led many excavations in Jordan. In the process, she discovered the first tablet ever found in that country bearing cuneiform, one of the oldest-known forms of writing.

She later founded the British Institute in Amman following 1967’s Six-Day War between Israel and five Arab states, supported by eight other nations. Because the British School of Archaeology was based in Jerusalem at the time, staff working there had found it difficult to gain access to neighbouring countries.

Bennett therefore set up facilities in her own flat in Amman, and later rented a house opposite the University of Jordan, which she established as the Institute in 1975.

In 1998, the Institute merged with British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, from which it was effectively born, to form the Council for British Research in the Levant. It still operates under that name to this day.

Crystal Bennett died aged 68 at home in Bruton, Somerset.


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Other events that occured in August

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid 1st
Guernsey won double-silver at the Commonwealth Games 2nd
Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey 3rd
A boy scout fell 250ft over a Torteval Cliff 4th
Jethou tenant was rescued from an up-turned boat 5th
A tomato ship and a tanker collided 6th
Human remains were found on Lihou 7th
The Beatles played at Candie Gardens 8th
The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport 9th
Guernesiais linguist Marie de Garis died 10th
Alderney experienced a total eclipse of the sun 11th
A minister was found dead at Icart Point 12th
Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession 13th
Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood 14th
Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid 15th
Charlie Chaplin played in St Peter Port 16th
St Peter Port inundated with fish 17th
A royal visit… of sorts
The Rolling Stones played St Peter Port 18th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published 19th
Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born 20th
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died 21st
St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide 22nd
Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm 23rd
Queen Victoria visited Guernsey 24th
The post-Occupation military government was disbanded 25th
Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey 26th
Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey 27th
Guernsey’s Reform Law was enacted 28th
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife 29th
Philip de Saumarez was discharged as a Jurat 30th
Jersey swimmers set a round-Guernsey record 31st