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Gillian Hovell

is a


Accredited Lecturer


Member of

The Society of Authors




‘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

Hovell & Dent Limited

 Registered Address:

Rays Farm, Smelthouses, Harrogate HG3 4DJ,  

Company No: 08315220

In association with


With thanks to

Bringing Colour, Depth and Meaning to Life today

by Digging Deep into History

This site has recently been


Please be patient with us if there are still a few spoil heaps scattered about.


2015 Visiting the Past Tours


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

Tour Manager Liz Dent, Medieveal Historian


Archaeological tours that take you beyond the sites

Not just a Guided Tour - A Visit into the Past


Friday 13 - Sunday 15 March    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 The Might of Roman York

3 Days   £299.95       Aldborough – Roman Walls – Baths - York Minster Crypt – 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 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   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   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    Prehistoric Northern Ireland

3 Days   £499.95        Giant’s Causeway - Tombs – Dolmens – Standing Stones – Stone Circles - Forts

Our journey via hotels in Donegal and Sligo leads us through stunning scenery and 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     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   Prehistoric Central Ireland

3 Days   £499.95           National Archaeology Museum - Tombs – Forts - Newgrange - Knowth

Flying into 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.




Email me for any enquiries   or  Tel: 01423 771290    Mob. 07860 637301  

Book any of the above tours directly with Omega Holidays

It is essential to quote Code VPT1 when booking

Tel. 01524 541 800    Email:






Other Tours with The Muddy Archaeologist


I will also be the lecturer for the very special Smithsonian Journeys’ cruise around the archaeological sites of the Aegean islands and shores of Greece & Turkeyon the Aegean Odyssey

17 April – 2 May  Pearls to Antiquity Cruise

starting at $4,845    Bookings:


I'm very pleased to have been invited to be the archaeology host on the following Saga Special Interest Archaeology Holidays in 2014.       Please join me if you can!


The Roman landmarks of Northumberland  Sun 10th – Thurs 14th August  4 nights from £499

Saga Holidays Specialist Archaeology holiday – Hadrian’s Wall    SOLD OUT


Malta’s Ancient Legacies  Tues 7th – Tues 14th October   7 nights  from £899

Saga Holidays Specialist Archaeology holiday –


Archaeological Sites of Cyprus  Fri 24th – Fri 31st October  7 nights from £949

Saga Holidays Specialist Archaeology holiday –






Join me, your lecturer and guide, either on our 2015 Visiting the Past Tours

(now in association with our wonderful new agent, Omega Holidays),

Or on a Smithsonian Journeys Aegean Cruise on the Aegean Odyssey,

Or on a Saga Special Interest Archaeology Holiday

and I can promise you a holiday that will share a stunning story,

a narrative of an era, archaeological tricks of the trade,

and a visit into the daily lives, rituals and homes the past

Check out Visiting the Past Tours’ Facebook Page

And why not ‘like’ our page, ‘share’ it with your friends and leave a comment - we’d love to hear from you!

‘Visiting the Past Tours’ is the trading name of Hovell & Dent Ltd

 Registered Address: Rays Farm, Smelthouses, Harrogate HG3 4DJ,  Company No: 08315220




Here’s what our

Visiting the Past Tours customers say ...


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

‘We’ve been looked after exceptionally well.

Many thanks!’

‘Very interesting + inspiring + great fun too’

‘Most enjoyable with fantastic archaeology, history & wildlife.

‘Very well organised

and fun. Thank you’

‘Brought out the little boy in me - whoopee!’



‘I would certainly come on another Tour. The help and consideration I received when I had difficulties was really marvellous’


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Email me      Tel. 01423 771290  Mob. 07860 637301


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