Dr Ben Robinson is a British archaeologist and television presenter who currently works for Historic England. He has appeared as a contributor and presenter for Channel 4, ITV and the BBC.
Ben has a PhD from the University of York and began his career as a digging archaeologist in what was once called ‘rescue archaeology’, retrieving evidence of past lives and long lost places from the jaws of bulldozers. He joined English Heritage as an ‘Inspector of Ancient Monuments’ after more than a decade as heritage adviser to a planning authority. Ben now heads a team that investigates and saves threatened historic buildings, monuments and places.
Ben’s television and radio work includes many research and on-screen contributions to archaeology and history programmes. He has taken Griff Rhys Jones for a microlight flight, kept Rory McGrath upright as he ‘slodged’ on stilts, immersed himself in a mist of preservative to show Mary-Ann Ochota prehistoric boats, shared a balloon over Bristol with Helen Mark of BBC Radio 4’s Open Country, and has helped the Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown in its quest to find King John’s treasure. He was a regular contributor and site director for Time Team (Channel 4, 2005-2011). His TV credits as a presenter include The Flying Archaeologist (series, BBC Four, 2013), The Zeppelin Terror (BBC Four, 2014), Secrets from the Sky (series, ITV, 2014 with Bettany Hughes), The Last Journey of the Magna Carta King (BBC Four, 2015) and many regional Inside Out programmes that cover heritage themes in current affairs (BBC One 2013- present).
Ben has co-presented two series of Channel 4’s Britain’s Most Historic Towns with Professor Alice Roberts (2018, 2019) and will make a third in 2020. In 2019 he presented the BBC series Pubs, Ponds and Power: The Story of the Village (BBC One, BBC Four, BBC Two) and his second series, Villages by the Sea, will be shown on BBC Two in 2020.
A common strand in all Ben’s work is the belief that directly exploring historic places can offer evocative insights into the past that are not legible in written history. Ben strives to show how history is woven into the fabric of our present-day landscapes, communities and lives, and how it can shape the future. He is currently writing a book about how to explore the heritage of English villages.
As a youth, Ben persuaded the RAF to teach him to fly, and for many years he has enjoyed the alternative perspective on landscape history available to him as a pilot of microlight aircraft.
Ben lives in Cambridgeshire with his family.