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Ancient History

Latin Classes





Illustrated Talks




For Schools





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Gillian Hovell

is a


Accredited Lecturer


Member of

The Society of Authors


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

In association with


With thanks to

Bringing Colour, Depth and Meaning to Life today

by Digging Deep into History


“The Muddy Archaeologist is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [The Muddy Archaeologist (].”


The MuddyArchaeologist’s Blog


Join me


in discovering more about the amazing history that is all around us




            Forthcoming: Latin Yesterday, Today & For Ever

                               A Mediterranean Tour: Not just a Load of Old Stones

  Numerous articles for adults and children

  Why not take a look at Aquila, the children’s magazine?



   Illustrated talks include the ever-popular Muddy History of Britain - A Local View

   Roman Britain: What did the Romans Ever Do for Us?

  Pompeii: A Product of its Time   and  Prompeii: A Fresh Look at Frescoes

  Iron-Age (Nidderdale) Project - the archaeology on our doorstep

  Prehistoric Nidderdale

  Ancient Cyprus

  Exposing Roman Art - you too can understand and appreciate those artefacts on Roman sites and in museum cases

Many more include Edge of Empire (the story of the North’s part in the Roman occupation); Prehistoric Orkney & Shetland; A Down-to-Earth History of Anglesey  and more ...

   Societies, dinners, schools, churches, conferences, journalists, media ..


  As lecturer, guide and co-director of Visiting the Past Tours, I can lead you on a holiday that’s not just a Guided Tour, but a Visit into the Past ....

   Prehistoric Orkney, Pompeii & Herculaneum & so much more, Hadrian’s Wall,

   I also lecture on archaeology cruises around the Mediterranean with Voyages to Antiquity and on Saga Special Interest Archaeology Holidays

  Working with the excellent James Pearson of Fireforge Media to produce local heritage films with various projects in the pipeline with other film producers.


   I’m experienced at speaking on local and national radio.  Why not invite me to liven up your programme with a little light digging into history and archaeology ...

Check out my credentials on       I’m ex-BBC too ...


   Exciting new Hidden Histories App are in development to show you your local history as you’ve never seen it before ...






Want to know more about what you’re seeing in museums?  

Ask for a day trip guided tour of the British Museum’s Greek and Roman galleries for your society or group or why not head up to Hadrian’s Wall/Vindolanda with me?    


Fieldwork, excavations, research, guided walks, talks, displays, open to all

I was co-founder and co-leader of The Iron-Age (Nidderdale) Project , a hugely successful project of volunteers

funded from 2008 to 2013 by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £41,000.

We explored and shared the amazing (and up till now, often hidden) remains of iron workings in this glorious dale.

I continue to work with community groups   

Contact me to enquire about ongoing community archaeology projects.



New on this website.  


Want to know more about Prehistory?  Human evolution, the Stone Age (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic & Neolithic), the Bronze Age and the Iron Age


Or want to know more about the Classical World - the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians or even the mysterious Phoenicians.


Take a look at these new, growing resources



Exciting new projects are being planned

Watch this space





Archaeology is always in the news - fresh discoveries, heated debates, new insights.

As a freelance archaeologist, I can speak openly on archaeological issues


I’m ex-BBC and experienced in media work.

Call me for professional background information, comment and passion and enthusiasm.


Contact me by email to discuss your concepts, requirements, schedule and rates.

Tel. 01423 203516    Mob. 07860 637301





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I have been writing for over ten years and as an award-winning writer my articles on archaeology have been published in magazines as diverse as The Dalesman and I contribute regularly to the children’s magazine, Aquila.


Let me give your readers a new outlook - archaeology is all around us and, while we cannot share our ancestors’ time, we do share their space  ...

I can help your readers to see that we are part of on-going history; we are shaping the future just as our ancestors shape the past.

Archaeology not only matters as it tells us who we are and how we are influenced,

It’s also fun, eye-opening and gets us out in that fresh air.


Contact me by email to discuss your requirements, deadlines and rates.

or Tel. 01423 203516    Mob. 07860 637301

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I specialise in enabling folk to find and understand the archaeology that is all around us,

whether in our own community, while visiting sites or when on holiday ...


Visiting the Past: Finding and Understanding Britain’s Archaeology


Roman Britain    A glossy pocket guide


A History of the Mediterranean - work in progress


Signed copies available direct from the author via the website shop

and through all the usual channels of good bookshops and the internet ...


Contact me by email or tel. 01423 203516  Mob 07860 637301 to order copieses.




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Cruises & Tours -  Courses & Classes  - Community Archaeology

Talks / NADFAS -  Study Days & Trips  -   Books -  Articles

TV & Radio  -  Interviews  


Email me      Tel. 01423 203516  Mob. 07860 637301


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Bring life to archaeology and archaeological topics and issues.  

Speak to someone with passion for archaeology and its part in our lives

Looking for professional but independent comment on topical issues?

Or for tales that bring the past to life - it’s not just dusty old bones and broken pots!

The Muddy Archaeologist can promise you energy and enthusiasm, as well as experience and professionalism.

Contact me by email to discuss your requirements, schedule and rates.

 Or Tel. 01423 203516    Mob. 07860 637301  to have a chat






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Booking now for 2015 and 2016


Click here for a full leaflet of available NADFAS talks.  They include Pompeii, its stunning frescoes, Roman villas, gods, their concept of beauty, the Ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean, Prehistoric art ... and many more.  Be amazed at what archaeology can tell us of the ancients’ hopes and fears as they lived lives that make us contemplate our own.


Study Days available, exploring a wide variety of aspects of Greek and Roman art and how they still influence us today.


Trips and multi-day Tours can be arranged in the UK and Europe


Contact me by email or tel. 01423 203516  Mob 07860 637301 to discuss your requirements, dates and fees.





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Archaeology is all around us.

Let me introduce your pupils to a world where archaeology shapes their world today.

Discover how to see history all around us

Develop an inquisitive mind

KS2, KS3 & KS4

Contact me by email  or phone Tel. 01423 203516    Mob. 07860 637301

To discuss how I can help your pupils gain a new dynamic to their education

Kids’ Page






Archaeology in the News




Richly illustrated   -  lively  -  interactive   -  friendly & sociable  -  eye-opening


10 weeks £110 per person  (ie. £11 per session per person)

(Brackets) denote number of weeks per course.


Roman Ruins - How to know what to look for   1 day/3 sessions

Greek Ruins - How to know what to look for   1 day / 3 session

A Mediterranean Tour - Not just a load of old stones  (10)  Focussing on the archaeology of ncient sites

Ancient History of the Mediterranean (10)  Looking at the Big Picture of ancient history

Greek and Roman Art & Artefacts:  (16) (2 terms)  A studied look at each of the media (pottery, glass, metalwork etc) that make up the archaeology of the ancients.  The beauty and skill will astonish you.


Illustrated History of Rome from the Foundation to the Fall (10)  More Roman history than archaeology but an excellent grounding for future courses/study.

And more

Perfect for local courses & society/group courses.    Several courses are ongoing.

Contact me to start up or join a courses at a venue near YOU!

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2015 Cruises April Athens to Athens ...

On board the Aegean Odyssey - another great success


‘The Muddy Archaeologist’ is also the archaeology host for the following

Saga Special Interest Archaeological Holidays


Ancient Wessex 29th June - 3rd July 2015

Pompeii 30th Sept - 7th October 2015

Pompeii 7-14th October 2015

Tunisia 20th-29th October 2015


Contact me to arrange a day trip for your group/society to ancient sites such as Hadrian’s Wall, Vindolanda, Bath, a Roman villa or two, prehistoric sites  ... and maybe their related museums too,

Or to have a guided tour of the dawn of Western Civilisation as we travel through the Greek and Roman galleries.  11/11.30am - 5pm, allows for arrival & return by train from many locations in England.

or Tel. 012423 203516  Mob. 07860 637301 for details


Visiting the Past Tours can take you and your society/group on a thrilling and engrossing narrative that lasts for a couple or days or up to 10 days or more.  Archaeological sites, visits to ongoing digs, evening lectures/briefings, illustrated handouts ... It’s not just a guided tour, it’s a visit into the past!Prehistory, Greek, Roman, Medieval, Monastic, Knights Hospitallers .... Many specialisms catered for.

Contact me to discuss options

Gillian  Hovell is a director of Hovell & Dent Ltd, trading as Visiting the Past Tours.

Other Muddy archaeologist activities are independent, freelance status.







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Prehistory  -  the Greeks  -   Romans

UK - Europe - The Mediterranean  -  and more

Cruises & Tours -  Courses & Classes  -  Community Projects

Talks / NADFAS  -  Study Days & Trips  -   Books -  Articles

TV & Radio  -  Interviews  - Resources - For Schools


Email me      Tel. 01423 203516  Mob. 07860 637301

I can help you, whether you want to join or arrange a cruise or tour, book or attend a talk, course or classes, study day or trip for you, your group, school or NADFAS, find or commission a book, article or media contribution, assist your community project, or simply find out more.

My passion is to combine my practical experience and knowledge with my expertise in Ancient History and Prehistory in order to inspire and enable people to enjoy and relate to the sites they visit and to see, understand and enjoy the archaeology that is all around us.  The Muddy Archaeologist digs deeper to bring colour and depth to our lives today.

After graduating in Latin and Ancient History and working in BBC TV, I moved on to writing about and presenting ancient history, Latin and archaeology.  I have spent over a decade contributing to local archaeology projects, prepared and co-led the hugely successful Iron Age Nidderdale Community Archaeology Project, lectured on archaeology to diverse audiences and on tours, and have dug at major sites of international importance (eg. Vindolanda, Star Carr, Oplontis).      




We all need a helping hand to get a grip on the vast range and depth of Archaeology.

Click below to explore the Muddy Archaeologist’s growing Resources Pages that are being unearthed on Prehistory and on Classical Civilisations:


Books (ancient and modern)

TV, Film & Radio sources of informationUseful websites

Archaeological sites

Recent Discoveries & News




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Dig deep into the Muddy Archaeologist’s rich array of talks on archaeology

All talks are tailor-made to the audience, event and locality.

Local Archaeology

Prehistoric archaeology

Classical (Greek & Roman) archaeology

Roman Britain

Community Archaeology

Why Archaeology Matters, what it tells us...  And more


Click here for an additional list of talks specialising in ancient art.

Being ex-BBC, I shall not just educate and inform, but entertain and enthrall  you.  Let me bring the ancient world alive through the archaeology that speaks to us across the millennia

Talks also available on Ancient History and Latin.

Contact me by email or Tel. 012423 203516  Mob. 07860 637301 to discuss topic, dates & fees







Immerse yourselves in archaeology for a day

It’s another world - and yet reveals the basis for our own modern world.

Local archaeology, understanding sites, finding how to see the wonder in the contents of those museum glass cases ...

Take a trip to a site or two, or a museum and you’ll never look at broken pots and fragments of stone, bone, wood, glass and metal in the same way ever again ...!


Please contact me (email or phone 01423 203516 / 07860 637301) to discuss your requirements, budget and a range of options.



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Community Archaeology is all about people from all walks of life getting closer to their heritage.

I can help to set up, run and present your Community Archaeology Project, whether it be a new, proposed Project or a well-established group.  Let me help you and your volunteers to get the most from your archaeology, and to share the context, relevance and excitement with your wider audience too.   Dig deeper with the Muddy Archaeologist!


If you’d like to see something of my work within community archaeology, read the paper on my presentation to the CBA (Council of British Archaeology) and/or watch the video by clicking on the image on the left.


Contact me by email  or phone Tel. 01423 203516    Mob. 07860 637301

To discuss how I can help you and your Project




Contact Me

I shall ALWAYS reply.  






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