Julian Richards

Dr Julian Richards is an archaeologist with over 40 years of experience of fieldwork and excavation, a writer and presenter on television and radio. An acknowledged expert on Stonehenge and Britain’s prehistoric past Julian devised, researched and presented seven series of the popular Meet the Ancestors (BBC 2) and the five part Blood of the Vikings (BBC 2) for both of which he wrote accompanying books. He also presented six series of Mapping the Town on Radio 4, and designed the award winning Hunt the Ancestor game for the BBC History website.

Julian also presented a four-part series, Stories from the Dark Earth: Meet the Ancestors Revisited which aired on BBC4.

Julian lives in Dorset where he maintains his special interests in Stonehenge, the history of ceramics and old cars.

Julian is also an experienced and entertaining after dinner speaker (his life in archaeology is summed up in ‘A career in ruins’) and an Arts Society lecturer.

Mary-Ann Ochota

Mary-Ann is a familiar presence on national and international television and radio, presenting for networks including the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, National Geographic and Smithsonian. She has written and presented radio documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service, and hosted podcasts for Audible, Wiley and the BBC.

Mary-Ann used her archaeological and science journalism expertise co-presenting the popular Smithsonian series Mystic Britain and got hands on with historic boats for BBC Two’s Britain Afloat and walked in the footsteps of the ancients on the Ridgeway trail for BBC’s Countryfile. Mary-Ann presented Secrets of Stonehenge for English Heritage, is a regular on History’s Ancient Top 10 and Ancient Impossible, and was co-presenter on the penultimate series of cult archaeology show, Time Team. She’s the co-host of the sci comm podcast This Study Shows, for Wiley, now in its third series.

As an anthropologist, her empathy and insight into human behaviour and culture come to the fore. This summer she was Walking the Iron Curtain for the BBC World Service, discovering the legacy of the border for people and wildlife. For Living on the Roof of the World (Discovery Networks) Mary-Ann spent seven weeks filming with herders, farmers and pilgrims on the high Tibetan plateau. She was also part of the presenting team for Time of Xi (Discovery Asia), exploring the realities of life in modern China. For BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service, she has investigated male circumcision (Why We Cut Men), the global sanitation scandal (A Dirty Secret), and met the military veterans using archaeology to recover their mental health (Open Country: Exercise Shallow Grave). Expedition documentaries for Animal Planet have taken her to the Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone (Life After: Chernobyl), and to investigate real cases of extraordinary child survival in Fiji, Uganda and Ukraine (Raised Wild).

Trusted as an warm, informed and agile interviewer, Mary-Ann has chaired public events for museums and institutes including the Science Museum, British Museum and Royal Institution, and presented her own work at literary, science and culture festivals, including Chip Lit, How the Light Gets In and HistFest. She’s also in demand for corporate work, and offers specific expertise in equity, diversity and inclusion.

Mary Ann’s forthcoming book, The Briefest History of Humanity will be published in 2024 by Pan Macmillan. It explores the science of ourselves – from lowly origins, our species has been so wildly successful, we’ve inadvertently transformed the planet, both for ourselves and all other life on Earth. How did humans do it, was it inevitable, and what might the journey so far tell us about the road ahead?

Mary-Ann’s previous books have celebrated archaeology for a wide readership: Secret Britain profiles mysterious sites and artefacts from around the country; Hidden Histories: A Spotter’s Guide to the British Landscape, reveals the history of the countryside, with tips on identifying everything from burial mounds and ancient trails to historic pubs. It was shortlisted in the Current Archaeology Awards, and selected as a New Statesman Book of the Year.

Mary-Ann regularly previews the papers for Sky News, reports and presents for ITN Business, has contributed to BBC News and BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent. She writes a regular column for TGO outdoors magazine, and has features regularly commissioned for publications including the Telegraph, Guardian, Countryfile Magazine, BBC Wildlife Magazine and The Week Junior.

Mary Ann is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Hill Walking Ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council. She is a trustee of the John Muir Trust, the wild places charity, a patron of the Ridgeway National Trail, and a patron of the Tony Trust, which gives bursaries to underprivileged kids to access outdoor adventure. She’s also an ambassador for global sanitation charity Toilet Twinning. Mary-Ann also serves as a member of the Landscape Advisory Panel for Natural England, advising the government’s statutory body on access and equity issues, and people’s engagement with heritage.

Mary-Ann has an MA in Archaeology & Anthropology from Cambridge University. She is an experienced cold water UK scuba diver, enthusiastic horse rider and keen walker, passionate about encouraging more people to get outside and reconnect with natural places. She was proud to be shortlisted for Outdoor Personality of the Year in the TGO Magazine Reader Awards in 2021. Mary-Ann is a qualified Mental Health First Aider.