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Welcome to the website of Gillian Hovell BA (Hons)
Award-winning Writer, Lover of Latin, Ancient Historian, Prehistorian and Muddy Archaeologist.
Lecturer at the British Museum & York University
Latest News

Richly illustrated and academically spot on.   Friendly, Fun and Fact-filled.

Special LIVE online Course: Ancient Roots – Roman Gardens

Starting Monday 12th October 2020  available HERE!


Click here:  www.muddyarchaeologist.thinkific.com

ALREADY AVAILABLE:     (Click on images)  





Come, from wherever you are in the world, and escape to the Ancient World with me!

Free registration gives you FREE access to the monthly Q&A / in conversation with The Muddy Archaeologist session!   Just register and join in!

Ideal for everyone: whether you’re a Time Team fan to academic, a novice or  academic, a Lockdown Leisure-seeker or inquisitive explorer – here’s your chance for a fresh look at ancient history and archaeological sites that everyone should experience.


More courses will follow
From Mediterranean civilizations to Classical Literature and Biblical context.
Soon you will be able to join me for many more courses , wherever you are in the world.
Contact me for more details
Expert professional talks – lively, engaging, connecting  – on screen
No need to cancel your events – just go live online with the Muddy Archaeologist.
Providing richly illustrated, fascinating talks to brighten your day.
‘We enjoyed the talk just as much as if we had been attending in person’  N.Yorks.
 As an author and public speaker, I’m in the business of lively, engaging professional communication through talks, study days and courses, tours and cruises, online and through the written word, media, film and audio.     

Read my CV here:  Gillian Hovell BA CV September 2020

In person, in the field, on line and in the media I’m renowned for changing the way folk see the world around them.

I can do this for you and your audience by:

  • showing how our modern lives are filled with stories and influences from the past,
  • revealing the relevance of the art, history, archaeology or Latin that is all around us,
  • discovering the underlying humanity that makes us part of the ‘big picture’ of history and civilization,
  • opening our eyes to finding and understanding archaeological sites and finds,
  • and so adding colour and depth and fresh meaning to our everyday lives.

Informative, entertaining and lively.

Listen in:    A Spot of Fun : ‘Midnight Mastermind’  Radio 2’s OJ Borg at 12.30am Tuesday 13th November 2018  

View a recent lecture about the archaeology of Jarlshof, Shetland while on board Le Boreal while crossing a ‘lively’ North Sea

Ex BBC TV, I specialise in making all history and also the classics relevant and exciting, and in opening the audience’s eyes to seeing the richness of heritage around us.

My talks inspire and inform courses, national and local societies and community projects, and are perfect to inspire travel and tourism companies, museums, galleries, history-based and classical associations, universities and colleges, and literary groups, amongst others.

A wide-ranging Portfolio of Talks and Course on archaeology, ancient history & Latin is available

A newly updated dedicated Arts Lecture portfolio is also available, with great Study Days

A blossoming Gardeners’ Ancient Roots portfolio can be read here

For an ancient Natural History selection, click here

To book a richly-illustrated, engaging and lively talk, course or study day, or to join me on a tour or a cruise, or arrange a private tour or event, or to arrange a media appearance:

Contact me   by email

Tel. 01423 203516   Mob. 07860 637301

You can subscribe to our Muddy Archaeologist newsletter by simply entering your email address below and clicking the button.

Privacy Policyhere


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About Me

Author, historian, archaeologist and public speaker of considerable experience and range, I specialise in providing passion, colour and depth to the present by visiting the past – whether it be through books, lively illustrated talks, articles, archaeological tours and cruises, walks, community archaeology projects, curses and classes, media.
My clients include the British Museum and York University.

Ex-BBC, I’m delighted to contribute via radio/audio, film, apps or printed media and I love meeting you in person at events too.

As Author, award-winning Writer, Tutor, Presenter and Public Speaker at events, in the media, on tours and cruises etc, I work as a freelance independent self-employed professional.

(Read my award-winning RHS/British Library entry here


After graduating in Latin & Ancient History from Exeter University in 1983, I spent several years working in BBC Television on everything from live television at No.10 to the Domesday Project (remember that?) and a spell in Children’s Programmes, as well as Drama Series & Serials and Science & Features.

I moved to North Yorkshire where I began to throw myself (often literally) into archaeology and started my award-winning writing and public speaking career.

I love to share history through teaching Latin and Classical History, community archaeology projects, writing books and articles, or presenting in person, on-line, in the media and on tours and cruises to demystify the past – I aim to open our eyes to see that it’s all around us, if we just know where to look …

“But what use is Latin and Ancient History?” is a question I am frequently asked, to which my answers were, and are, many and varied but which nearly always include the concept “because it’s FUN!”.

For history and archaeology are all around us. We see it every day of our lives and use Latin and classical echoes all the time, often without even realising it – and it can be great fun. Honest. And it’s a privilege to be at the cutting edge of unearthing and sharing muddy history when I’m out on community archaeology sites or major international sites too.

Watch my Show Reel here :  

You can read my CV here
Gillian Hovell BA CV Sept2019


At the Sharp End of the Trowel

Sharing the Exploration


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See below for dates of Muddy Archaeologist talks

A wide-ranging Range of Lectures and Courses  is available

A dedicated Arts Lecture Portfolio  is also available  (Gillian is an accredited lecturer of the Arts Society)
2018 Ratings for Arts Society Talks:  30% Outstanding; 20% Excellent; 50% Very Good      (0%  rated Good, Passable or Poor)

NEW FOR 2019 Study day, The Complete Pompeii.    Join me, an archaeologist who has excavated on a Pompeian site, for a full or half day exploring the wonders of life in this ancient city 2,000 years ago

Why not try my NEW TALKS 

  • Planets, Panthers & Palettes: Roman Pliny’s Remarkable ‘Natural History’  Discover the astonishing ways the Romans viewed the amazing natural world 2,000 years ago …  Was Pliny an eco-warrior?
  • Ancient Roots: Classical Stories growing in your Garden  Uproot the myths and uses of plants 2,000 years ago, and discover the ancient roots of our modern gardens today 1 page Art Lectures HOVELL Gillian BA The Muddy Archaeologist April 2019

Some of the most popular Muddy Archaeologist talks are:

    • The Complete Pompeii STUDY DAY   Find out how to truly enter the world of the Romans at Pompeii.
    • A Mediterranean Tour – Not Just  a Load of Old Stones    Getting to grips with ALL the ancient civilisations and identifying their distinctive art and place and time.
    • A Muddy History of Britain – A Local View   The archaeology of Britain seen through the big famous sites and your own sites near you
    • Digging Deeper in Pompeii with the Muddy Archaeologist 
    • Latin Yesterday, Today & Forever  How and why Latin remained part of our lives through the centuries and today)
    • Roman Britain: What did the Romans Ever do for Us?
    • Pompeii – A Fresh Look at Frescoes  Revel in the colour and themes of beautiful wall paintings and what they tell us about Roman life and aspirations.
    • Pompeii – A Product of its Time   How an ordinary town like Pompeii is a window onto the world of the Roman Empire.
    • A selection of talks on enjoying archaeological destinations & sites including Neolithic Orkney & Shetland, Megalithic Malta, the Mycenaean World, Minoan Crete, Ancient Cyprus, Ancient Sicily, the Brave New World of Ancient Greece, Hadrian’s Wall, Pompeii & related sites, Romans across their Empire, the Romans in your area,  and many others.  View a recent talk on the archaeology of Jarlshof, Shetland here.
  • Talks also available on specialist themes:
    • Your Profession
    • Animals in the ancient world – myths, uses, folklore, rich images …
      Options include: Bee-keeping; Birds; Pets; Sea Life;
      Plus: Latin Names Brought to Life
    • Classical literature & authors (an overview guide or focus on any one, such as Homer, Greek playwrights, Pliny, Cicero, Ovid, Virgil, Horace, Catullus, Suetonius, Vitruvius …);
    • Greek & Roman mythology;
    • Ancient philosophy – How the Romans Saw the World;
    • Latin inscriptions;
    • Sailing the Wine Dark Sea, and more.Contact me to arrange a talk for your society   Tel. 07860 637301

For more details please email gillian@muddyarchaeologist.co.ukOf course, I would look forward very much to seeing you at any of the public talks below.   If any are anywhere near your area and you’d like me to speak to a society or organisation near you while I’m there, please contact me.
And don’t forget, if you’re in North Yorkshire, there are a wealth of courses to join in with too!  I’m also happy to travel to deliver a course near you:  one-day, weekend, one-week options.

Public Talks by The Muddy Archaeologist in 2020 – 2021

Book now to arrange a talk by the Muddy Archaeologist 


1 February         York University   STUDY DAY  (NOTE Change of Date from 8 Feb)  SOLD OUT    Repeat Study Day 21 March 2020
The Archaeology of Roman Britain

Discover how to see the Roman sites of Britain for yourself.
10am-4.30pm Contact: York University’s Lifelong Learning
Book via York University’s online store at www.york.ac.uk/lifelonglearning
Enquiries:  01904 328473    email: 

12 February         Dartmoor Arts Society   What did the Greeks & Romans Ever do for Art?

29 February         York University   STUDY DAY
The Complete Pompeii
A truly comprehensive view of Pompeii through archaeologists’ eyes.  The tragedy, the evidence, the reality; and how to really consider this Roman town and the surrounding sites to meet the Romans face-to-face through their art.
10am-4.30pm Contact: York University’s Lifelong Learning
Book via York University’s online store  www.york.ac.uk/lifelonglearning
Enquiries:  01904 328473    email: 

3 March               Yarm Ladies Luncheon Club  What did the Romans ever do for us?

21 March         York University   
This is a  Repeat Study Day from 1 February 2020
The Archaeology of Roman Britain

Discover how to see the Roman sites of Britain for yourself.
10am-4.30pm Contact: York University’s Lifelong Learning
Book via York University’s online store  www.york.ac.uk/lifelonglearning
Enquiries:  01904 328473    email: 

28  March              York University   STUDY DAY
The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon & Viking Britain

The continuing story of Britain, from the author of Visiting the Past: Finding & Understanding Britain’s Archaeology
10am-4.30pm Contact: York University’s Lifelong Learning
Book via York University’s online store  www.york.ac.uk/lifelonglearning
Enquiries:  01904 328473    email: 

3-19 April     Travel Academy: Sicily & the Aeolian Isles TOUR

11-17 May     Ciceroni Travel: Albania TOUR

23-31 May   Smithsonian Journeys  ‘ Scottish Islands and Norwegian Fjords’ TOUR

3-18 June   ASA (Australians Studying Abroad)  Shetland and Orkney: Archaeology and Wildlife of the Northern Isles  TOUR

18 July  LECTURE AT BRITISH MUSEUM: A Muddy History of Britain 
Part of the Festival of Archaeology 2020
Soon bookable on British Museum website

20 July – 7 August    Courses at Marlborough Summer School
20-24 July Archaeology of Prehistoric  Britain   Mornings
20-24 July  Classical Literature:  Meet the Authors  Afternoons
27 -31 July   Classical Mythology & Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Lands of Myths & Legends  Mornings
3-7 August  Latin Yesterday, Today & For Ever  Mornings
3-7 August Archaeology of Roman Britain  Afternoons

20 August  LECTURE AT BRITISH MUSEUM: Ancient Perspectives of the Arctic     Accompanying the BM’s ‘Arctic’ exhibition
Soon bookable on British Museum website

16-24 September   Smithsonian Journeys ‘A Week in Sorrento’ TOUR

14 October   Ross on Wye Arts Society The Complete Pompeii STUDY DAY

15 October  Marlborough History Society A Muddy Prehistory of Britain

17-24 October:   Saga Cruise:  Guest Speaker

11 November   Acorn Ladies Lunch   What did the Romans Ever Do for Yorkshire?

12 November   Chiswick Arts Society   Pompeii: Digging Deeper with the Muddy Archaeologist

8 December     The Arts Society, Diss  io Saturnalia!  Happy Christmas the Roman Way

9 December  Woking Arts Society io Saturnalia!  Happy Christmas the Roman Way

9 December Northamptonshire  7.45pm io Saturnalia!  Happy Christmas the Roman Way

10 December   Walton Arts Society   io Saturnalia!  Happy Christmas the Roman Way

BOOK YOUR CHRISTMAS TALK NOW  for 2020 and 2021 to avoid disappointment!



Gillian Hovell is an Arts Society Accredited Lecturer

Vast and varied Arts Society Portfolio of Talks and Study Days available here

Book NOW to arrange a talk by the Muddy Archaeologist!


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Show Reel  Muddy Archaeologist June 2017

COMMISSION ME for your video and digital needs!





Scroll down for More Videos:  Tours – Archaeology – Interviews

A Spot of Fun : ‘Midnight Mastermind’ on BBC Radio 2’s OJ Borg at 12.30am Tuesday 13th November 2018

and my contribution to Radio 4’s Broadcasting House soon after Richard III was discovered …  (find me 16 mins 20 secs in …)


Sample Lecture



The Iron Age Nidderdale video blog supporting BBC 2’s ‘Digging for Britain’ series. Episode 1
Nidderdale excavations, supporting on line blog for BBC 2’s ‘Digging for Britain’ series
Gillian Hovell presents Iron Age Nidderdale video blog supporting BBC 2’s Digging for Britain, Episode 3
The Muddy Archaeologist presents the Iron Age Nidderdale Project Episode 4







Nidderdale Pages interview the Muddy Archaeologist
Alistair Macdonald interviews Gillian Hovell at Society of Authors Alistair Macdonald interviews Gillian Hovell at the Society of Authors
The Arts Society (NADFAS) – What the Muddy Archaeologist can offer