Festival of Archaeology

Festival of Archaeology 2020

Festival of Archaeology

As part of the Council for British Archaeology's Festival of Archaeology, the DEBS team and the Archaeology Data Service will be hosting two live streamed public lectures by Professor Harold Mytum; one an introduction to the archaeology of burial grounds, and the other about what we can learn from systematic burial ground research that transcends individual sites. In addition, for the duration of the festival Dr Toby Pillatt will be providing one-to-one support for individuals and community groups that wish to convert existing datasets to the new standardised recording system, thereby making them compatibile with the new online database. To support this, the Archaeology Data Service are also running a competition to enable a maximum of 3 community groups to archive their newly converted data for free.

Graveyard Research Activities for Families

Getting some fresh air and having some outdoor activities is always useful, but even more so in the current conditions. Burial grounds do not sound like an attractive place to visit to many, but they are wonderful locations for respectful but exciting exploration of the natural world and local history and heritage. A lot of aspects of burial grounds are not about death but about life – the natural world and also the living who chose, made, and visited the monuments.

Download Harold Mytum's graveyard activities for families (pdf)

Making Stones Speak: Some examples of how graveyard monuments reveal hidden stories

In this online lecture, aimed at individuals interested in their local graveyards, Professor Harold Mytum of the University of Liverpool reveals how graveyard research allows us to understand more about the past. He looks at the ways individual stone carvers can be identified, how you can notice regional styles, and how shapes and materials used for memorials change in popularity over time. Some of the designs on stones carry meaning, and they also change in popularity over time.

After the lecture, you should be able to appreciate more of your local heritage when you visit a graveyard or cemetery. You may even wish to look at resources that you will hear about that could allow you to carry out recording yourself - on your own or in a group.

Researching Burial Grounds: Archiving Existing Data

In this online lecture, aimed at individuals or community groups that have already conducted some survey work of their graveyards, Professor Harold Mytum discusses the importance of data standardisation, our new recording methodology, and what we can find out from graveyard research that goes beyond individual sites.


As part of the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology, the Archaeology Data Service and DEBS project team are running a competition for individuals and community groups that have burial ground survey data to convert to the new recording system. The winners will have their newly converted data accessioned and archived for free.

To enter, simply answer some simple questions about your data. You do not need to have converted your data prior to entering the competition.

Enter the competition

The closing date for entry is midnight Sunday 26th July.
Winners will be informed by 31st July.
Winners will have until 30th September to submit their converted datasets.

The winning entries will be selected by a panel comprising:

  • Professor Harold Mytum (University of Liverpool)
  • Dr Katie Green (Archaeology Data Service)
  • Dr Toby Pillatt (University of York)

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Adherence to the DEBS/ADS requirements for accession, including a site plan and the willingness and ability to sign the ADS Deposit Licence Agreement.
  • Quality of the data (how much information there is about the people and monuments contained within the burial ground, and whether the data goes beyond the ‘minimum recommended survey information’.
  • Significance of the data (how important the site is for local heritage studies and burial ground research more widely).
  • Likelihood of completing a conversion project (whether you have the people and resources to complete the data conversion before the archiving submission deadline of 30th September 2020).
  • Whether you can fund archiving from another source. Priority will be given to groups with no existing funding.

For more information about the competition or our other contributions to the Festival of Archaeology, please contact toby.pillatt@york.ac.uk