Dr Margaret Mountford
Anyone with a curious mind should visit the wonders of the Bay of Naples. It never fails to inspire and impress, with its incredible concentration of archaeological sites, many of them remarkably preserved. When one steps into an ancient Roman dining room or decorated mansion, one can start to imagine the complex and diverse lives existing within them. To do so against the backdrop of the dramatic sweep of the Bay of Naples is a great privilege.
Dr. Margaret Mountford is well known for her appearances on The Apprentice, alongside Lord Sugar, applying incisive thought to the activities of business hopefuls. She now chairs the Bright Ideas Trust, established by the first winner of The Apprentice.
What is less well known is that she is also an expert in the ancient world, having studied papyri from Egypt. This ancient waste paper, preserved in ancient rubbish heaps, but also in the cases of mummies, where it was used as the basis for a sort of papier mache to model human forms, preserves the daily lives and doings of people from the Roman world. Their letters and gossip, receipts, shopping lists, official decrees and jottings can all now be read as a gripping account of life in the past. She will guide us around one of the very best preserved sites in the Bay of Naples, the great villa at Oplontis, perhaps owned by Poppea, the wife of Nero.