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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

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 May 2018.

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 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.

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 Courses  is available

A dedicated Art Lectures Portfolio is also available

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.


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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, 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.


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 March 2018


At the Sharp End of the Trowel

Sharing the Exploration


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Some of the most popular Muddy Archaeologist talks are:

  • 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: ancient gardens & plants; animals in the ancient world; 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; art; architecture; 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 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 2018-2020

Book now to arrange a talk by the Muddy Archaeologist 

Tuesday 6th March 2018 :  The British Museum
1.15-2pm Gallery Talk :   Connections: The Ancient Greeks & their Place in the Mediterranean
Part of the BBC Civilisations Festivals
Creating a sense of time and place, providing the bigger picture of a vibrant ancient world – how the cultures we’re looking at were not isolated; the ancient Mediterranean was seething with different cultures that collided and connected, living in the shadow of some and experiencing direct exchange of ideas from others.
NO Booking Required – Just turn up!    Other BM talks to follow in Autumn/Winter 2018/19

July 2018 : ADFAS Australia Lecture Tour
Fleurieu – Adelaide – Geelong – Melbourne – Canberra – Molonglo Plains – Murray River – Ku-ring-gai
Click here ADFAS Lecture Tour flier  for the FULL DETAILS of dates, venues & times, & contact details

Autumn/Winter 2018 will include events at the British Museum (dates tbc), as well as:

Saturday 8th September 2018Airedale & Wharfedale Association
Voluntary association of National Trust members: new members welcome

Tuesday 30th October Hull Literary & Philosophical Society
What did the Romans ever really do for Us?

Monday 12th November 2018 :    Osbaldwick & Murton WI
New members welcome

The Muddy Archaeologist will be speaking at the following Arts Societies
Open to members and guest visitors
Gillian Hovell is an Arts Society Accredited Lecturer

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

6 November     Grantham & District
19 November   Ealing
21 November   Liverpool
5 December    Claremont Arts Society, Esher
12 December   Appleby in Westorland
13 December   Painswick
21 December   Oundle

19 January        Welwyn Garden City
7 March              Gainsborough & District
13 March            Totnes, followed by evening talk in Plymouth
28 November   Oakham
10 December   Chester
11 December   Burghley, Stamford
12 December   Macclesfield

14 January         Alton
8 December     Diss

Book NOW to arrange a talk by the Muddy Archaeologist!


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Show Reel  Muddy Archaeologist June 2017

Scroll down for More Videos:  Tours – Archaeology – Interviews

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