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Welcome to the website of Gillian Hovell BA (Hons)

‘The Muddy Archaeologist’

Expert in the Ancient World

Award-winning Writer, Lover of Latin, Ancient Historian, Prehistorian and Muddy Archaeologist.

Independent Lecturer at York University

In person – Online – In the Media – In the Field

Expert broadcaster: AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO (R2, R4, Five Live & World Service and more) & seen on Sky History & BBC News Channel

Expert speaker, nationally & internationally


Contact me   by email

Mob. 07860 637301  Tel. 01423 203516

Freddie Matthews British Museum
It has been wonderful to host talks by Gillian as part of the British Museum’s public programme. She is a passionate scholar and educator, with a flair for engaging audiences with dynamism, accessibility and fun

Contact me   by email

Mob. 07860 637301  Tel. 01423 203516


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

Click here:  www.muddyarchaeologist.thinkific.com


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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 2024

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

Contact me   by email

Tel. 01423 203516   Mob. 07860 637301



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About Me

A highly professional independent expert in the ancient world, in archaeology and in Latin too.

Author, historian, archaeologist, presenter and public speaker nationally and internationally of extensive 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 have included the British Museum and York University and everyone from WIs to the National Trust and the national Press.

Ex-BBC, I’m delighted to contribute via television, 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.

Lecturing on tours has taken me around the ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean and from there right up into the glorious Northern Isles too.  

Watch my Show Reel here :  

You can read my CV here
Gillian Hovell  CV


At the Sharp End of the Trowel

Sharing the Exploration


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  • Adding Colour & Depth to our Modern Lives by Digging Deeper into ancient cultures through Archaeology & Ancient History around us.  Archaeology, ancient literature, even Latin itself.
  • Discover Art & Design’s Common Humanity from Ages past

Also:  Motivational & Inspirational Talks that provide timeless yet ever new concepts:

  • Timeless, Ancient Roots of Everything.  From Gardens to Businesses & Professions, from Genres to Leadership, and from Why We Travel to Design & Creativity.
  • Finding the New in a World where Nothing is New
  • Tapping into Personal & Professional Eternal Aspirations & Inspiration

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)

STUDY DAYS can include:

Tutankhamun’s World:  Egypt Rising from the Sands Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Carter’s great discovery of ‘Wonderful things’ with this Full or Half Day Study Day.  Explore the astonished world of Tutankhamun and his treasures.  The World of Tutankhamun synopsis 

The World of Stonehenge  What we know/think we know about the site, then explore the vibrant Neolithic world of the first farmers and their time; finally, we explore Neolithic sites and learn what to look for when we’re out and about.

The Complete Pompeii.    Ever popular day. 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.  Complete Pompeii Synopsis

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 

Some of the most popular Muddy Archaeologist talks are:

    • Complete Pompeii  Full 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.uk.

Of course, I would look forward very much to seeing you at any of the public talks – see here.

I’m also happy to travel to deliver a course near you:  one-day, weekend, one-week options.

Book now for a talk by the Muddy Archaeologist


Gillian Hovell is an Arts Society Accredited Lecturer

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


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Gillian Hovell, ‘The Muddy Archaeologist’ is a freelance archaeologist & ancient historian.

Available for engaging, passionate & expert comment and insights.
Also for factual documentaries & series:   Television, radio & podcasts.

Mobile  07860 637301            Tel. 01423 203516
Email: gillian@muddyarchaeologist.co.uk
Also contactable by Facebook,  Linked In  & Twitter
Media Showreel available here

Samples of media appearances can be found in the links below

Also filtered collections can be found on YouTube playlists: The Muddy Archaeologist:  on the BBC (TV & Radio);   BBC Radio;   BBC TV;   on screen interviews;   on radio;  on archaeological discoveries;  on archaeological issues, news & exhibitions;   on ancient Britainaround the Mediterranean;   on site  showreels;



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Sky series Sex: A Bonkers History,  with Amanda Holden.  Find out from me in episode 1 as I reveal to Amanda and our guests what the erotic art at Pompeii was really about!   Oct 2023


BBC News Channel – on the importance of the Rutland Roman villa 28 Nov 2022

BBC News Channel on the Nobel Prize award for the Neanderthal DNA 3 Oct 2022

BBC News Channel – on the DNA clues to prehistoric migration to Britain  22 Dec 2021

TalkRadio TV  on decapitated Romans in cemetery on HS2 dig.  9 Feb 2022

TalkRadio TV celebrating Hadrian’s Wall’s 1900th Birthday …   03 Jan 2022

TRT ‘Showreel’ Turkey’s international culture show  on the British Museum’s ‘Troy’ exhibition


 BBC RADIO FIVE:  the discovery of an ancient branch of the Nile that ran alongside the Pyramids – changing our view of the ancient landscape and how the pyramids were built.   18 May 2024

BBC Five Alive:  The Roman Mausoleum found in Southwark, London  – with a bonus on why Beauty & the Beast music can turn the Muddy Archaeologist to mush …!   June 2023

BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme      Virtual displays in museums   14 Dec 2021

BBC World Service:     Epic of Gilgamesh returns home  October 2021

BBC Radio 4 ‘Broadcasting House’   Richard III Fever & Community Archaeology

BBC Radio Live Five Drought reveals sunken archaeology in rivers and reservoirs  August 2022


BBC Radio 2 

OJ Borg Midnight Mastermind – Tutankhamun   Nov 2022

OJ Borg Midnight Mastermind – Latin   Nov 2019

OJ Borg Midnight Mastermind – Archaeology  Nov 2018


BBC Local Radio

BBC Scotland Drought reveals sunken archaeology in rivers and reservoirs  August 2022

BBC Radio Jersey   How history changes with new discoveries   April 2022

BBC Radio Bristol   Nail clipping in the 13th century …  Jan 2022

BBC Radio York  Neolithic Salt production in North Yorkshire   March 2021

BBC Radio Stoke   Roman villa unearthed in Scarborough   19 April 2021

BBC Radio Newcastle   Launch of ‘Visiting the Past’ book by Gillian Hovell  2010


Catch them all on the The Muddy Archaeologist on BBC Radio – Playlist   

Local Radio

Two Lochs Radio   Launch of ‘Visiting the Past’ book by Gillian Hovell 2010

Stray fm ‘Visiting the Past’ 2010


Sarah J Naylor’s Harnessing Happiness – The Muddy Archaeologist’s story & inspiration  20 Dec 2022

A range of other sample videos are below:

Show Reel  Arts Society 2021


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

Showreel Media 2021

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

Sample Lecture



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


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It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Requests, comments, feedback … just write to me at the address below or:

Phone me on 01423 203516 or 07860 637301

Or email me: mailto:gillian@muddyarchaeologist.co.uk