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Gillian Hovell

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Copyright © Gillian Hovell



‘The Muddy Archaeologist’

is an identifying title

for Gillian Hovell,

independent freelance

Writer & Speaker,

historian and archaeologist


‘Visiting the Past Tours’

is the trading name of

Visiting the Past Ltd

 Registered Address:

212 Woodfield Rd


North Yorkshire

HG1 4JF  

Company No: 08315220

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With thanks to

Bringing Colour, Depth and Meaning to Life today

by Digging Deep into History


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Friday 13 - Sunday 15 March 2015    Roman Britain:  Sacred Springs and Spas

3 Days   £289.95   

Chedworth Roman Villa – Roman Bath – Great Witcombe Villa - Cirencester Museum

Wallow in a tour that explores how the Romans changed the lives of the Britons for ever as new pagan gods, ritual springs and lives of luxury spread through occupied Britain.  Visit the unique Roman Baths in Bath, discover how guests at Chedworth villa were treated to 5-star accommodation, and explore Great Witcombe villa and find out how the archaeology tells its story.  A trip into Cirencester Museum reveals Roman finds and I share some archaeological tricks to bring these unearthed treasures to life.



Friday 27 – Sunday 29 March 2015       The Might of Roman York

3 Days   £299.95       

Aldborough – Roman Walls – Baths - York Minster Crypt – Yorkshire Museum - and more

York was the centre of Roman military might in the North of England and evidence for it is scattered through the city.  Aldborough, meanwhile, became a Romanised civilian focus for what had been the Brigantes’ tribal lands.  The Roman gallery of the Yorkshire Museum opens its doors for us to walk into a world of Roman social and private lives as well as the military occupation and the soldiers’ postings to these Northern reaches of the Empire.  Here native Britain merged with Classical Rome.  Join us, and see how the Romans changed our lives for ever.



Sunday 24 May - Tuesday 2 June 2015               Prehistoric Orkney and Shetland


10 Days  £1,499.95    

Tombs – settlements – brochs – standing stones – scenery, botany & birdlife

We return to the Orkneys and Shetland for another inspirational and comprehensive archaeological tour of these remote islands, home to some of the best preserved prehistoric sites in Northern Europe.  From our base at Stromness, we shall enter homes that are 5,000 years old, crawl into tombs that were ‘homes for the dead’ and revel in world-famous megalithic monumental sites set in unforgettable scenery.  We also plan to visit some on-going excavations during this tour and to witness, first-hand, as the millennia are unearthed.  We believe this is the most comprehensive tour of the Prehistoric Orkneys that exists.  But you still get breathing space to appreciate the wonderful atmosphere of these remote islands.  Book now for a holiday of a lifetime.



Tuesday 16  - Wednesday 24 June 2015            Roman Pompeii & Herculaneum

9  Days   £1,499.95      

Paestum – Stabiae – Cumae – Pozzuoli –San Lorenzo – Naples’ Archaeological Museum – Mt.Vesuvius – Pompeii – Herculaneum Oplontis – Capri

A magnificent tour around the Bay of Naples.  Explore Roman history from its origins to the rise of the late Republic and the luxury of imperial Rome.  Discover Roman art, architecture, religion and daily life, as we add, each day, new aspects of Roman life to our explorations.  Perhaps the most insightful tour of this internationally important archaeological region that you can book.




Friday 10 July – Sunday  12 July 2015     Prehistoric Southern Ireland

3 Days   £519.95   

Tombs – Dolmens – Standing Stones – Stone Circles - Forts

Flying into Dublin, we stay in Killarney to explore the prehistoric wedge tombs of this beautiful area.  Southern Ireland is a real treat; Dunberg, Cahergal, Loher and Staigue forts, and Kealkil and the famous Drombeg stone circles and more, before flying back from Cork.  A tour loaded with atmosphere, scenery and ancient lives in a peaceful land that’s full of stories.




Friday 24 - Sunday 26 July 2015                Prehistoric Northern Ireland

3 Days   £499.95       

Giant’s Causeway - Tombs – Dolmens – Standing Stones – Stone Circles - Forts

Our journey is based from our hotel in Donegal and leads us through stunning scenery to the greatest prehistoric sites in Northern Ireland; from the Giant’s Causeway to forts and stone circles, and tombs ranging from dolmen to court tombs and the famous Carrowmore cemetery.    A wide-ranging tour that will take you on a journey through time and across glorious landscapes where folk lived, defended themselves and built great monuments to their ancestors.  It really is an unforgettable world.





Monday 3 -Friday 7 August 2015     Hadrian’s Wall: Edge of Empire

5 Days   £549.95            

Stanwick - Piercebridge – Corbridge – Segedunum - Arbeia – Chesters – Housesteads - Roman Army Museum – Vindolanda – Mithraeum – Tullie House Museum – and more …

A grand tour of Hadrian’s Wall, the northern edge of the Roman Empire – a land where barbarian and Roman worlds collided.  Walk in the footsteps of the Romans, discover what life really was like on the frontiers of the Roman Empire and take it all a step further – for this tour also reveals the archaeological tricks of the trade that will enable you to interpret Roman sites for  yourself …  



Friday 21 – Sunday 23 August 2015      Prehistoric Central Ireland

3 Days   £499.95           

National Archaeology Museum - Tombs – Forts - Newgrange - Knowth

Flying into Central Ireland in Dublin, we get our bearings at the National Archaeology Museum before exploring the best tombs and forts around Galway.  Returning via Dublin, Knowth, Fourknocks and Newgrange are a ‘must’.    This is the ‘prestige’ tour of Ireland that looks at some of the most famous prehistoric sites in Ireland.






Bookings for all above tours: Omega Holidays Group plc, White Cross, Lancaster, LA1 4XQ

It is essential to quote Code VPT1 when booking, please

Tel. 01524 541 800  













I am delighted to  have been commissioned as the lecturer for the Smithsonian Journeys’ group on the good ship, Aegean Odyssey.  

17 April – 2 May 2015 Pearls of Antiquity Cruise    Athens to Istanbul

We shall sail around some of the very best archaeological sites of the Aegean islands and shores of Greece & Turkey:  Apollo’s Delos, Mykonos, Santorini’s Akrotiri, Knossos, Kos, Rhodes, Patara, the not-to-be-missed Ephesus, Pergamon and Troy.

This cruise also begins with two nights exploring the sites of glorious Athens from an excellent hotel and it concludes with two nights in the amazing city of Istanbul.

See the Smithsonian Journey’s website for further details and how to book

To find out more about some of the sites listed, take a look at my Facebook page where I have been exploring the very same sites (amongst others).

It would be a joy to have you join us on board.

starting at $4,845    Bookings:



News coming up soon about Autumn Courses …

The Ancient History of the Mediterranean (get to grips with all those civilisations!)

See the world through a Romans’ eyes as we look at Pliny’s Natural History

Or brush up your Latin grammar (and its place in our modern lives) with a new course in Harrogate.

Watch out for more details in the next Newsletter – or contact me now (Tel: 01423 203516)



Thank you

to everyone who has invited me to speak or lead a course or tour

or has joined me at the classes, talks and thrilling tours/cruises so far this year.  

I hope to see you again before long.


I’m always happy to hear from you.


Please do contact me to enquire about tours in the UK or




or about talks (including NADFAS), study days and workshops, events and classes and courses, either advertised ones or potential ones that you’d like to arrange.


As a writer as well as a speaker on ancient history, archaeology or Latin,

I can provide quality copy and images for your magazine or publication too.


And as a presenter too, I am happy to discuss your requirements.


Just give me a call (01423 203516 or 07860 637301) or email me.



Wishing you a wonderful Summer!

Thank you, and very best wishes to you all.



As always, you can find lots more on my website



Follow me on Facebook – site blogs, information, alerts …

& why not LIKE the Facebook page to hear the latest as soon as it happens



Please feel free to forward this newsflash to a friend or two ….

Talks – Books – Tours – Latin Classes – Archaeology – Ancient Greece and Rome - Articles – Shop – Photo Gallery – Events – Blog – Interviews & Films – Media - Other News on Archaeology


And do check out the Visiting the Past Tours website too …


 If you'd rather unsubscribe from this newsletter, please just email me and let me know. 




Contact Me

I shall ALWAYS reply.  


Here’s what our guests said after a Tour:

‘A million thanks to you for a fantastic, memorable holiday’

‘Most enjoyable with fantastic archaeology, history & wildlife.’

‘We’ve been looked after exceptionally well.  Many thanks!’

The Muddy Archaeologist


Gillian Hovell  BA(Hons)


Newsflash with all the latest events,news and offers

Digging Deep into History to bring colour, depth and meaning to life today


July 2014



Our Visiting the Past Tours for 2015 have been confirmed


Book now!  Your chance, as a thank you for receiving this newsletter, to register your interest early, before our Tours are advertised nationally.

(NB. Limited single occupancy available – don’t miss out!)



Prehistory & Ancient History tours guided by Gillian Hovell, Archaeologist & Author

Tour Manager Liz Dent, Medieval Historian


Visiting the Past Tours are dedicated to your care and enjoyment of your chosen archaeological trip.   

That’s why I’m a full-time lecturer and guide on the tours, staying where you stay and accompanying you to every site.  

That’s why historian Liz Dent is your full-time Tour Manager, caring for you at every step of the way.

And that’s why our itineraries take you on a voyage of exploration, travelling through a stunning narrative (not just ‘yet another site’ each day), to give you a fulfilling and varied holiday in the company of like-minded travellers.

And with our wonderful new partners at Omega Holidays, we can now take you further than ever before …


Not just a Guided Tour – A Visit into the Past

See the sites in the context of the Big Picture but also experience archaeology close-up;

Discover how archaeologists see the sites, and how the sites still speak to us across the centuries and the millennia.  


The Past we visit was their Present

The Muddy Archaeologist 


Gillian Hovell BA (Hons)


Newsflash with all the latest events, news and offers


Digging Deep into History to bring colour, depth and meaning to life today


August/September 2014



Four Autumn Courses to choose from in 2014

Latin All Around Us  (Harrogate)

The Ancient History of the Mediterranean (Harrogate & North Stainley)

Pliny’s “Natural History”  (Ripon)


If you’re wondering how to liven up your autumn,

Take a look at these courses and join me in Ripon, Harrogate or North Stainley

You’ll see the ancient world AND our modern world in a brand new way



Latin All Around Us Latin Classes

Latin grammar combined with ancient history and modern connections.

This course is for those who know or once knew the very first basics (ie. A very faint grasp that Latin nouns have genders and change their endings according to what they’re doing in the sentence and that verbs change their endings depending on who or when is doing the action).  But rest assured that you don’t have to – and won’t have to - remember all those tables.


Or it’s for those who want a refresher course as they’ve forgotten their Latin or grown a little rusty.

Or for those who simply want to wallow in a fascinating fresh subject, learning to decode Latin phrases and mottoes etc while discovering how English is full of fascinating history, stories and connections.

It’s all connected with our modern lives today; join us and discover how.


at Christ Church, Harrogate in the Lounge 2-4 pm Wednesday afternoons

10 Sept, 17 Sept, 24 Sept, 1 Oct,  

5 Nov, 12 Nov, 19 Nov, 26 Nov, 3 Dec, 10 Dec

10-week course  (£100)  

Click here for course outline


Friendly, sociable, interactive and richly illustrated, inc. refreshment break

It’s not just Latin – it’s seeing the world in a whole new way!

Only very basic Latin required - No tests: just fun & discovery

carpe diem   NB   etc

Please book directly with Gillian:  

Tel. 01423 203516  mob.07860 637310   email:


The Ancient History of the Mediterranean Come and explore the Babylonians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans … the who, where, when … and more.

Discover the Romans’ own words and views and see how the ancients saw their own history and place in the world.

You’ll be amazed at how much we are still connected to these civilisations, and how much we really do owe them.

It’s not just Ancient History & Latin – it’s seeing the modern world  in a whole new way!


Choose from an Ancient History of the Mediterranean class at Christ Church, Harrogate (Mondays 10-12 noon)

and a parallel class at North Stainley Village Hall (Mondays 1.15-3.15pm)

Mondays 8, 15, 22, 29 Sept, (No Oct), 10, 17, 24 Nov,  1, 8, 15 Dec 2014    

10-week course  (£100) 

Click here for course outline


This great course will explore the Ancient world, with an added bonus of seeing how the Romans viewed their place within it.

While short original Latin quotes will be explored to see exactly what the Romans really said, basic Latin is helpful but it isn’t essential: I shall be guiding you through the translations.  

Please book directly with Gillian:  

Tel. 01423 203516  mob.07860 637310   email:


Pliny the Elder – Natural History  Working our way through selections of Pliny the Elder’s encyclopaedic ‘Natural History’ (written before his death in Vesuvius’ eruption at Pompeii in AD 79), we explore how the Romans viewed the cosmos, the geography of their world, the plants and animals and the way humans use them, anthropology and the physiology of mankind, the earth’s raw materials and the fine arts.  It’s a snapshot in time and provides a unique ‘way in’ to the Roman psyche.  

It’s a familiar world, but a very alien one at the same time …

At the Old Deanery Hotel, Ripon 10am-12 noon   

Wednesdays Sept 3, 10, 17, 24, (no October dates), Nov 5, 12, 19, 26, Dec 3, 10

10-week course  (£100) 

Click here for Course Outline


Both The Ancient History of the Mediterranean and Pliny’s Natural History will require some slight familiarity with basic Latin.  However, I shall assume, as the old quote goes, ‘A gentlemen [or lady!] need not remember Latin, as long as he has forgotten it’ (even totally!).  

Lapsed learners, however rusty, are very welcome indeed.  



If you’d like to book any of these courses or would like to know more about the courses to see if they’re for you, then please call me:

Tel:  01423 203516  mob.07860 637301  

or email:


Thank you, and very best wishes to you all.



As always, you can find lots more on my website




Follow me on Facebook – site blogs, information, alerts …

& why not LIKE the Facebook page to hear the latest as soon as it happens



Please feel free to forward this newsflash to a friend or two ….

Talks – Books – Tours – Latin Classes – Archaeology – Ancient Greece and Rome - Articles – Shop – Photo Gallery – Events – Blog – Interviews & Films – Media - Other News on Archaeology


And do check out the Visiting the Past Tours website too …


















 If you'd rather unsubscribe from this newsletter, please just email me and let me know. 







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