BBC2’s Coast presenter Mark Horton has joined the Royal Agricultural University as a professorial research fellow.

The leading archaeologist, TV presenter and writer will be joining the University's Cultural Heritage Institute (CHI) in Swindon following the appointment of Dr Geraint Coles as director.

The CHI, which opens later this year, will offer a range of new heritage-based degrees. These will include an MBA in Cultural Heritage Leadership in September 2019 and, from January 2020, MSc degrees including Archaeological and Heritage Practice, Historic Environment Management, Landscape Archaeology and Historical Archaeology. All are designed to prepare students for careers in heritage.

Prof Horton joins the RAU (whose main campus is based in Cirencester) from the University of Bristol where he was an academic for 25 years. He has presented the BBC programmes Coast and Time Flyers and was involved in the early series of Time Team.

He said: “I have a passion for the environment especially that of our coasts, and it is so exciting to be joining the RAU at this time, helping to train a new generation in the conservation and enjoyment of our heritage. We’re especially looking forward to welcoming students to our exciting new purpose-built learning centre in the former Great Western Railway Carriage Works later this year.”

Led by the RAU in partnership with other academic and commercial partners the CHI is a response to a national skills gap across the historic environment sector.

Dr Lucy Meredith, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the RAU said: "The RAU has a long history of engagement with the land, landscape and wider environment; Professor Horton’s appointment emphasises our commitment to multi-disciplinary research and to the growth of the CHI.”