Gillian Hovell

Gillian Hovell

A published historian and archaeologist, with extensive experience in lecturing and leading tours to the ancient world.

Gillian Hovell, ‘The Muddy Archaeologist’, is a UK-based freelance, published historian and archaeologist with extensive experience in lecturing and leading tours to the ancient world.

After graduating from Exeter University in Latin and Ancient History, Gillian worked in BBC Television and went on to become an award-winning freelance writer, author and public speaker specialising in archaeology, ancient history (and Latin too).

Gillian shares her enthusiastic passion and extensive knowledge in person in courses and lectures and on tours and cruises, in books & freelance writing, in the field, on national and local media, and on-line.  She engages with folk in social and professional environments and inspires them to see that archaeological finds and sites are full of human life and passion.

She is now a lecturer at the British Museum and for York University and provides many Lifelong Learning courses independently and for institutions and establishments in the UK and abroad.  Her 2018 lecture tour of Australia was so successful that others are being planned.

Her joy is to change the way that people see their work and leisure today, human nature and the world around them.  For, as she says, ‘history and archaeology are not just about the past, they’re everywhere, and they add colour, depth and meaning to our lives today.’

As an archaeologist, Gillian led and supported community archaeology projects in a hands-on way for ten years (hence the professional title of ‘The Muddy Archaeologist’). She now actively digs at major sites in the UK and Europe (from Orkney’s prehistoric Ness of Brodgar to Roman Pompeii and Vindolanda, and sites and eras in between).

Gillian is passionate about leading tours and cruises.  Her wide experience stretches from the archaeology of the UK (from Neolithic Orkney to Roman Britain and beyond) to the archaeology and the ebb and flow of the Ancient Mediterranean civilisations. Her expertise includes the Neolithic temples on Malta, the Bronze Age Minoans and Mycenaeans, the ancient Greek mainland and the Aegean islands and shores, the Phoenicians, traders extraordinaire, and the artistic Etruscans.  And, of course, the Romans in every corner of their Empire.

We asked Gillian, what motivates you as a tour leader?

‘The BBC mantra of “educate, inform and entertain” has never left me,’ she says.  ‘I simply adore providing tours of destinations that are so much more than a load of old stones; our travels are visits into the past and a glimpse into our shared humanity.’

‘For,’, she continues, ‘on our adventures, we meet people who share their lives with us; it’s always a thrill, a joy and a privilege, whether they lived 3,000 years ago or greet us today’.

‘And, as we join together in our exploration of great sites and in our enjoyment of delicious meals, unforgettable landscapes and an exchange of ancient and modern ideas, I always hope my fellow travellers are refreshed, inspired and delighted by their voyage of discovery.’

Whether you’re a lifelong lover of the ancient world, or even if you don’t yet know that you’re interested in ancient history or archaeology, Gillian can fire your imagination and inspire you to new visions.