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Hello and welcome!

Mary-Ann Ochota is a broadcaster and anthropologist who gained her MA from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


I specialise in presenting anthropology, archaeology, social history and outdoor adventure.

For me, it's all about discovering and telling people's stories in the most exciting and compelling way - on TV, radio, podcast, in print and in person. From the heart of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster zone, to conflict zones in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the slums of Dhaka, the backstreets of Swansea, and the high fells of Britain's Lake District.

Walking the Iron Curtain, BBC World Service (forthcoming)
Happiness...and How To Get It, Audible original podcasts (2020/21)
The Lost Sounds Orchestra, BBC Radio 4 (2021)
Secrets of Our Sites: Stonehenge, English Heritage (2020)
Mystic Britain Smithsonian Channel (Series 2 on TV now)
Tibet: Living on the Roof of the World Discovery/Sky Vision (coming 2021)
Why We Cut Men BBC World Service
Britain Afloat: Boats that made Britain
China: Time of Xi
Discovery Asia-Pacific
Those Who Came Before
CNN Create/Visit Jordan (watch the short)
The Why Factor: Childlessness, Raising Other People's Kids, Surrogacy
BBC World Service
Keep Digging (the deepest hole in the World)
BBC Radio 4

Life After: Chernobyl, Animal Planet

A Dirty Secret, BBC Radio 4

Best of Enemies: What do the British Think of the Germans? ARD-Alpha

Ancient Impossible, H2: History Channel 2

Unreported World, Channel 4

Raised Wild/Feral Children, Discovery Networks

Britain's Secret Treasures, Britain's Secret Homes, ITV1

The Truth Behind: King Arthur, Nat Geo

Time Team, Channel 4

My new book - Secret Britain: Uearthing our mysterious past - has just been published! It's a Cornucopia of our weirdest and most wonderful archaeological sites and artefacts. They make you feel proud...of these gloriously intriguing isles" Sir Tony Robinson.

My previous book, Hidden Histories: A Spotter's Guide to the British Landscape is a guide to puzzling out some of the features you might spot in the landscape around you - what are those lumps and bumps in that field? Is this an ancient burial mound? How old is that church? Is this a medieval woodland? For countryside wanderers and armchair wonderers, I hope it'll feed your curiousity as a landscape detective!

Join me at an event - online events for Spring

I'm very proud to be the co-presenter of the Science communication podcast series, This Study Shows, in collaboration with Wiley publishing. Together with my co-host Professor Danielle George, we delve into the world of science and sci comm, bringing you top tips, ideas and debate from across the field. Want to know how to talk to creationists about evolution? How to draw your research as a graphic novel? How to recruit a diverse group of participants into your study? Or give a fantastic 3 min online talk to 6 year olds? We've got you covered. Check out all the episodes - as well as specials on inclusivity and Communicating Covid here.

I've presented radio documentaries for the BBC and the World Service, including on the regular anthropology series, The Why Factor. I'm a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent and Sky News. I also report for ITN Industry News and am proud to be hosting part of the CBI's 2020 conference series, including the Achieveing Net Zero conference and the Diversity and Inclusion conference at the end of November 2020. I write for the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and other newspapers, and regularly contribute to adventure and outdoors magazines including Trail, Geographical, Summit and Countryfile Magazine.

Check out my: Telegraph outdoor travel guides

My first book, Britain's Secret Treasures, was written in conjunction with the British Museum and ITV. It reveals the incredible stories behind 80 archaeological artefacts discovered by members of the British public. Buy your copy of Britain's Secret Treasures here.

I'm proud to be...

a 'Loo-minary' for Toilet Twinning - twin your loo with a long-drop somewhere in the world

a Patron of the Tony Trust, who help fund young people to take part in Outdoor Activities Centres

a Hill Walking Ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council - the mountains are for all

a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - understand the complex world we live in

I believe anthropology (the study of people, biologically and socially) can help to challenge the most basic preconceptions we have about ourselves and our own society, shedding new light on what it means to be human, and why we do what we do.  Anthropology in your own 'backyard' can be as eye-opening as research further afield!


Online Events

Royal Geographical Society Microlectures -

Thursday 11th March

7pm - 9pm GMT

Tickets from £4

Join me for this year's prestigious RGS-IBG Microlectures. We'll hear short talks from six adventurers who've made geographical journeys.

This year we travel to Belize, Greenland, the Welsh coast, the River Severn, Chernobyl, the Iron Curtain, Antarctica, a digital archive of South America and an Intensive Care Unit.

Thought-provoking, uplifting, and inspiring in equal measure. And that's just my hosting (ha ha)

Book Now

Stories for Springtime

Saturday 20th March
7pm - 9pm GMT
Tickets £15 / £10
Jason Buck Storyteller and I bring you four original tales, based on real archaeology - as the earth warms, shoots form and the hares begin to box, we'll take you back in time, to visit Boudicca's druids, a civil war battlefield and the great tumult in the northern oceans. Starting with real archaeology we make a leap of imagination and bring the past to life. All to the comfort of a zoom meeting on your laptop / TV / smartphone

TICKETS: £15 (standard) £10 (concessions) - one ticket per household
Suitable for families,  aimed at adults

Ramblings on BBC Radio 4
I was absolutely delighted to be invited to go for a walk with Clare Balding for the new series of Ramblings.

We went to the Pegsdon Hills, on the Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire border, and did some landscape spotting - Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, medieval strip lynchets, ancient holloways and a lovely trig pillar! What a grand way to spend a day. You can listen on the radio, and then on demand, on Thursday 4th March.
Exploring Stonehenge with English Heritage

Join me for an in-depth tour of the linked sites of Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK.

Why are they linked? How were they used? What's the significance of midwinter? And what do we still not know?!

Watch now! (18mins)

Secret Britain is out!

I've already had some lovely press on Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4, the Daily Telegraph (paywall) and the Guardian (no paywall!) and a podcast with the Royal Geographical Society (29mins, really very good, if I do say so myself)

But what I really care about is whether you lot like it. If you do, tell your friends and family ;-)

Signed copies avaiable now :)
And join me for an online talk!

Season 2, Mystic Britain, Smithsonian Channel

Season 2 sees me and the lovely Clive Anderson on another jaunt round Britain, finding the weirdest and most wonderful British archaeology we can lay our hands on. It's like Horrible Histories for grown ups. This season we explore Maeshowe in Orkney, the Uffington White horse, strange bodies at Sutton Hoo, the fate of the Picts, Tintagel and King Arthur, Warrior Queen Boudicca, Anglesey and the Druids, the Red Lady of Paviland and Tudor medicine.

Catch us on the Smithsonian Channel!

Secret Britain: Unearthing our Mysterious Past

Britain is full of ancient wonders: small, strange places and objects that hint at a deep and enduring relationship with the mystic. This beautiful book unearths more than 70 of the most intriguing mysteries in Britain. 
These archaeological sites and artefacts take us deep into the lives of Britain's ancient inhabitants - buried treasure, geoglyphs, sacred circles, caves filled with medieval carvings, and trinkets to ward off dark magic. From famous sites such as Stonehenge and Glastonbury to the prehistoric art of Ilkley Moor, the caves of Gower and the mummies of the Hebrides, I explore how these secret places still resonate today.

Buy a signed copy here

Hidden Histories:

A Spotter's Guide to the British Landscape

Recommended by The Sunday Times, Trail Magazine, The Countryman, Countryfile Magazine, Geographical magazine, Tony Robinson, Steve Backshall, Tom Holland (selected as New Statesman Book of the Year) and Professor Francis Pryor

Buy the book!

Come to an Event!

Britain Afloat

I absolutely loved making this six-part series exploring how boats have shaped our lives across Britain. It was a journey across the country and into the history of punts, coracles, narrow boats, sailing boats, rowing eights and the Thames sailing barge. I got to grips with these pieces of living history, and met the passionate people keeping the traditions alive.