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Broadcaster and author Mary-Ann Ochota is a familiar face on TV archaeology programmes, including the cult show Time Team, History Channel’s Ancient Impossible, BBC2’s Britain Afloat, and currently, the Smithsonian Channel hit Mystic Britain, in which she explores strange chapters of British history with co-presenter Clive Anderson.
Mary-Ann’s most recent book, Hidden Histories: A Spotter’s Guide to the British Landscape, reveals the features you can spot in the countryside around you – from Bronze Age burial mounds to turnpiked toll roads, and the hidden histories of footpaths, pubs and portal dolmens. It was shortlisted for Current Archaeology’s Book of the Year Award, and was selected by historian Tom Holland as a New Statesman Book of the Year. Her new book, Secret Britain: Unearthing Our Mysterious Past, which reveals more than seventy astonishing finds, sites and burials from across the country, is out this Autumn.
Mary-Ann also writes regularly for newspapers and magazines on outdoor adventures, anthropology and archaeology, gives guided walks and performs archaeological storytelling using real artefacts to inspire tales of the ancestors. Mary-Ann is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a hillwalking ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council and she holds an MA from Cambridge University in Archaeology and Anthropology.
Secret Britain is a fascinating collection of ancient wonders curated for print by TV presenter and anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota. An Anglo-Saxon mystic princess.. A wild circle of thorns.. A naked pagan.. A queen’s lost ring.. A cure for witchcraft.. Secrets such as these are unearthed from page to page. Everything from tiny artefacts to large structures are included, representing the entire land from Orkney to Cornwall. The book is packed with excellent photography and will improve the look of any coffee table, but you may also want to find space for it under your passenger seat because if you like a staycation there is a strong chance that you will find yourself near at least one of these mysterious sites. Not only is the book geographically diverse and full of unexpected treasures, but the timeline they span is extraordinary, starting 33,000 years ago and ending up in 1916; simply layer upon layer of heritage. The author’s descriptions are both tantalising and informative, posing many unanswered questions as well as intriguing answers, or at least alternative explanations. Mary-Ann Ochota tells these stories with great flourish and a passion for her subject, opening doors to the past which the most inquisitive of us will want to pass through. ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival
For hundreds of thousands of years our ancestors have walked these isles burying, dropping and throwing away their belongings, and now these treaures lie waiting for us, keeping their secrets until we uncover them once more. Every year, hundreds of vaulable artefacts are discovered by ordinary members of the British public. Here in Britain's Secret Treasures, which accompanies the ITV series, the British Museum chooses eighty of the most fascinating finds ever reported and Mary-Ann Ochota shares with us the moving histories that bring each piece to life. There is also a detailed chapter showing you how you can get involved in archaeology too. From hoards of Roman gold and Bronze Age drinking vessels to tiny Viking spindle whorls and weapons from dozens of wars, all manner of treausres are described here. Some help prove that our ancestors were alive over half a million years ago, some saw their modern-day finders receive a generous reward, all provide an insight into the wodnerful, dynamic, colourful history of our nation.
'A definitive classic field guide [...] Its scope is as magnificent as our countryside itself.' BBC Countryfile Magazine 'This book is perfect for anyone who's travelled through the countryside, scratched their head, and thought, 'what on earth is that thing?''' Tony Robinson Have you ever driven past a lumpy, bumpy field and wondered what made the lumps and bumps? Or walked between two lines of grand trees and wondered when and why they were planted? Entertaining and factually rigorous, Hidden Histories has the answers and will help you decipher the story of Britain's landscape through the features you can see around you. In this spotter's guide, Mary-Ann Ochota arms amateur explorers with the crucial information needed to understand the landscape and spot the human activities that have shaped our green and pleasant land. Photographs and diagrams point out specific details and typical examples to help the curious spotter understand what they're looking at, or looking for. Specially commissioned illustrations bring to life the processes that shaped the landscape (from medieval ploughing to Roman road building). Stand-alone capsules explore interesting aspects of history (like the Highland Clearances or the coming of Christianity). Feature boxes provide definitions of jargon or handy references as required (like a glossary of what different field names mean). Each chapter culminates in a checklist of key details to look for, other things it might be, and gives details of where to find some of the best examples in Britain. From lumps and bumps to stones, lines and villages, Hidden Histories is the must-have spotter's guide to the British landscape.