Toby Pillatt 2020

University of York, UK

Discovering England’s Burial Spaces (DEBS): developing a new national database for burial ground research

Discovering England’s Burial Spaces (DEBS) was a Historic England funded project hosted by the Centre for Digital Heritage, Digital Creativity Labs and the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) at the University of York, in collaboration with the Universities of Glasgow and Liverpool. We worked with community groups to develop new digital tools and resources for burial space recording, research and dissemination. One of the project’s core outputs is a new pilot national database for burial space research, hosted by the ADS and linked to their digital archiving processes. Groups conducting work in burial spaces can now safeguard their research into perpetuity and share findings with other researchers. However, the proper functioning of the database relies on the creation of standardised workflows and integrating discrete datasets that, historically, have tended to be particular to the burial ground studied. This presentation will reflect on these challenges, as well as the means by which we have attempted to overcome them.


The Cemetery Research Group runs two events a year: in May and in November. Follow the links and send in an abstract