Anna J. Fairley 2020

Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, UK

A website for St James’ Cemetery, Liverpool: demonstrating the value of material culture in the dissemination of cemetery data online

The internet provides an ideal forum to involve and engage diverse groups of people in the vast resources of historic cemeteries. A survey of existing websites dedicated to nineteenth-century cemeteries revealed that the information available is patchy and inconsistent. Most provide an overall history of the site with some information on notable burials, but insight beyond this is limited. Additionally, websites set up by volunteer groups or individuals are extremely vulnerable to being taken offline due to lack of funds. The opportunity to compile and disseminate a wide variety of information is being missed, in particular the potential uses of the cemeteries’ above-ground archaeology. The revival and development of a website for St James’ Cemetery, established in Liverpool in 1829, provides an ideal forum to demonstrate how a cemetery’s material culture can be surveyed, analysed, and ultimately presented to the public. A survey of extant memorials in St James’ Cemetery provided data that gives insight into nineteenth-century society, including attitudes towards age and gender. This was then interpreted and displayed online to demonstrate that it is possible to introduce archaeological insight to cemetery websites, with the implication that this can be applied to similar digital resources in the future.


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