On October 1, 1977, Martin Biddle, of Winchester, England, will take over as director of the University Museum. He will succeed James Pritchard who has served as director since September 30, 1976, following the retirement of Froelich Rainey.
Martin Biddle, born in 1937, was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School and at Pembroke College, Cambridge University. Since 1968 he has been the director of the Winchester Research Unit, responsible for a major research project in urban archaeology. Before taking over at Winchester, Biddle had excavated at a number of Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon sites and at Nonsuch Palace in Surrey and Camber Castle in Sussex, both sites connected with Henry VIII.
Biddle is a specialist in the history of Anglo-Saxon towns and has pioneered in the study of urban archaeology. He has a special concern for what is called rescue archaeology, the salvage and study of monuments of the past before they are overwhelmed by the onrush of the present, and is co-founder and first chairman of Rescue: the Trust for British Archaeology. Among his many publications in this field is a book on The Future of London’s Post.
Trained in Classics at school, Biddle studied archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge. He has published several books and monographs and more than 100 articles on various aspects of medieval and post-medieval art, archaeology and architectural history. The Winchester excavation, a major operation in progress from 1961 to 1971 with over 200 people digging every season, was an Anglo-American project from 1964-1970 with more than 3,000 American students taking part. The results of this excavation are to be published in twelve volumes, the first of which has just appeared.
Martin Biddle has close ties with the United States, having been here on many trips and on lecture tours sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America. He has also lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His wife, Birthe Kjolbye-Biddle, has degrees from the University of Aarhus in Denmark and is a specialist in European prehistory and Nordic archaeology.
I am sure that Biddle will have many new ideas regarding the future work of the University Museum, building upon the strengths established in the past. Indications are that considerable attention will be given to the publication of the numerous excavations conducted by the staff of the Museum, to the role of the Museum as a teaching and educational institution both for the University and for the general public, and in making the Museum more accessible to the public.