Ashley Cowie (born 1973) is a Scottish historian, author, photographer, TV host and producer who started out studying photography before returning to his homelands of Caithness in the north coast of Scotland. Beginning in 1993, Cowie explored the landscapes of Caithness and over the following decade he discovered many pre-historic artefacts including Meolithic & Neolithic flint scatters and carved stones. In 2000, Cowie was involved in field walking projects in Caithness which revealed lithic scatters around the shores of Loch Watten and Yarrows, which was new evidence of early prehistoric settlement in Caithness. He went on to discover some of the first flint tools from the Mesolithic lithic scatter at Oliclett in the Yarrows basin which became one of the most significant archeological digs in British history. Cowie began presenting his work in up-beat lectures on the International Science Festival in Orkney where his lecture entitled The Rope Age received a standing ovation from over 100 of the worlds most acclaimed professors of archaeology. After this lecture, Cowie was elected as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and his work was featured in several Scotsman Newspaper features.
Between 2002 and 2009, Cowie was privately commissioned to conduct research projects at various historic locations and during this time his discoveries in the architecture and symbols of Rosslyn Chapel were published in the best selling "The Book of Hiram", where he is credited for having discovered one of the earliest mapping systems known to date. In his own books, The Rosslyn Matrix (2007) and The Rosslyn Templar (2009), he detailed the possible connections between the Clan Sinclair, the chapel and the activities of the Knights Templar. Cowie's last book 'The Super Star - America's Royal Secret' 2011 solves a long standing historical mystery recounting his discovery of an ancient map, which leads him on an adventure through the Scottish Highlands and finally to a far-flung island where he discovers evidence of the, pre-Columbian, Norse discovery of America.
In 2009, Cowie became Resident Historian on STV's The Hour Show, where he wrote and presented a series of live TV episodes discussing the origins of Scottish traditions and superstitions. At this time the Scottish media branded him "The Hunky Historian". He next appeared as an expert/sceptical historian on Sky Living TV's 2010 Paranormal Investigation Live where he analysed apparently supernatural occurrences and debunked them with logic and reason. Cowie also appeared as an expert historian in History Channel's Holy Grail in America. In 2011, Cowie was credited as producer, writer and host, of NBC Universal's TV series, Legend Quest. This fast-paced, cinematic, action-adventure series follows Cowie as he travels the world in search of history's greatest and most mysterious artifacts. Each of the six one-hour episodes include Indiana Jones-type adventure and Da Vinci Code-style puzzle solving. In Legend Quest, Cowie hacks through dense jungles, dives in volcanic lakes, treks through forbidding deserts and climbs some of the highest mountains in the Peruvian Andes. The show premiered on Syfy Channel on 13 July 2011 attracting 1.2 million viewers, boosting SyFy's ratings by 19%. The series is a co-production from BASE Production’s John Brenkus and Mickey Stern and Universal Networks International. Legend Quest has aired in the USA, Canada, Australia, Asia and Europe and premiered in the UK on SyFy Channel on 23 April 2012.
Cowie's research was featured in the Scottish Sun's 2012 Lost Treasure Week, where he wrote several articles about his searches for various lost treasures. Cowie recently featured in the documentary series Great Estates Scotland, which aired on PBS in the US and on History Channel in International territories.
- The Rosslyn Matrix (2007) ISBN 978-0-955-36230-9
- The Rosslyn Templar (2009) ISBN 978-1-906-30787-5
- Oliver Farramond (4 September 2009). "New clues in Da Vinci Code’s Rosslyn Chapel". Deadline Press & Picture Agency. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- Kath Gourlay (12 May 2006). "From St Clair to Sinclair – the family who built Rosslyn". The Scotsman. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- 'The Super Star - America's Royal Secret' Retrieved 2012-04-26