Mary-Ann Ochota

About Mary-Ann Ochota

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.

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!

Mary-Ann has travelled extensively – for work and pleasure – to destinations including Tibet, Jordan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Fiji, India, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Algeria, Uganda, Argentina, Australia and Thailand.  She’s also explored nooks and corners of the British Isles, including Shetland, Orkney, the Outer Hebrides, Scilly Isles, Gower Peninsula and Scottish Highlands.

She’s an HSE certified PADI Divemaster, has trained with the British Sub-Aqua Club and has used full-face masks and comms systems.

She holds a current HABC Level 3 First Aid at Work award, is a qualified Oxygen Administrator and has training in first aid in remote and hostile environments.

She completed a Rory Peck Trust-approved Working in Hostile Regions training course in 2014 with Tyr Solutions.

Mary-Ann is an experienced offshore sailor, having completed crossings of the North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. She’s a watchleader with the tall ship sailing charity Jubilee Sailing Trust.

She’s an experienced outdoorswoman, enjoys hiking, camping and bivvying in all weathers, is an enthusiastic horse rider and likes messing about on rivers.

Her rescue dog Harpo is one of her favourite buddies for adventuring.

Mary-Ann has offered insight to corporate clients across charity, consumer and communications sectors on topics as diverse as ‘Britishness’, the psychology of risk, online friendship and community cohesion.

She produces reports regularly for ITN Industry News across a range of sectors, including motoring, finance, engineering innovation, health and social care and tourism development.

Clients have included:

– The RAC                                      – Autodesk

– Royal Geographical Society        – Pensions & Life Savings Association

– BNP Paribas                                – Tourism Northern Ireland

– Inspired Life                                 – Institute of Art and Ideas

– One World Media Awards            – Centre for Vision in the Developing World

– Panasonic                                    – Virgin Media

Get in touch to discuss your event or corporate film

A quick, warm and versatile speaker, Mary-Ann has given a broad range of keynote and educational lectures, hosted awards and chaired debates and seminars.

Recent events include hosting the Royal Geographical Society annual Microlectures, and presenting feature talks and workshops at travel and adventure events including the Keswick Mountain Festival, Luxury Travel Fair at Olympia, Kendal Mountain Festival and the London Night of Adventure.
Her talks range from quirky keynotes on tribal leadership, tales of adventure from her expedition notebooks, to opening talks on human rights, cultural capital and social evolution.

She has research and practical volunteering interests in disability issues, community and criminal justice and development and education. She is a member of an Independent Custody Visiting panel, is a watchleader with disability sailing charity, the Jubilee Sailing Trust, is a ‘Loo-minary’ of the international ToiletTwinning organisation, and has served as an awards presenter and juror for the One World Media awards.

Get in touch to discuss your event


NEW BOOK – Secret Britain:
Unearthing Our Mysterious Past

by Mary-Ann Ochota

This lively illustrated book unearths more than seventy intriguing mysteries: archaeological sites and artefacts that take us deep into the lives of Britain’s ancient inhabitants.

They include buried treasure, stone circles and geoglyphs, earth temples dedicated to the moon, 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 reveal their secret history and show how these strange and ancient things still resonate today.

Secret Britain by Mary-Ann Ochota

Other books by Mary-Ann Ochota

Articles, videos, photos, adventure & more

Mary-Ann performing to an audience around a glowing open fire inside a thatched hut

26 June 2021

Chalke Valley History Festival: Digging for History

2pm – 3pm

Church Bottom, Bury Lane, Broad Chalke,
Near Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DP

I’ll be joining Alex Langlands and Neil Oliver for an hour of celebration of the the importance of arcaheology for telling our stories – not just those stories from before people started to write things down, but also the stories that didn’t get written down, or got written down wrong. From landscape history, to tales of everyday life, to the secret details revealed my modern archaeological science, this is actually going to be a live and in person event, part of a wonderfully diverse history festival programmed to entertain the whole family.

Programme and ticket info:

17 September 2021

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Testimonials & Reviews

Public Speaking & Hosting Events

Royal Geographical Society


“You were a brilliant host for the evening! Engaging, in control and fun. There was a great atmosphere all-round the event.”

The Institute of Art and Ideas

Hay on Wye

Mary-Ann was an impeccable chair of her panel events at Crunch and HowtheLightGetsIn, with an excellent rapport with panellists and audience alike and a strong command of the issues under debate.

Hope and Homes for Children

Night of Adventure

You were an excellent MC…just the right balance of relaxed friendliness with audience and professionally guiding us through the evening.

?What If! Innovation


Mary-Ann radiates a unique and rare energy and professionalism; she was an utter joy to work with. The clients were captivated with the content and the energy that Mary-Ann exuded. I now always recommend her to colleagues and professional contacts.

Discover the Exiting World of Anthropology

Videos and images