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.
Since 1 October 2015, John has been based in Greece as Director of the British School at Athens.