Discovering England's Burial Spaces (DEBS): Phase 2 Report

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Discovering England’s Burial Spaces (DEBS) was a two year project focused on developing new tools and resources to support community-led archaeological recording of burial spaces.

Burial spaces are important heritage sites, and play an important role as shared community places. They are frequently of great interest to local community groups, who enjoy looking after their burial spaces and researching the people that are interred there. Unfortunately, such research is often unsystematic, with different groups applying different survey methodologies and taking conflicting approaches to documentation and dissemination. More often than not, research tends to focus on documentary histories as opposed to material forms of commemoration.

Funded by Historic England, DEBS addressed these issues by working with a wide array of stakeholder organisations and community groups to create a new standardised methodology for surveying burial spaces, focusing primarily on describing the material form of memorials. Additional outputs included an OASIS+ module to facilitate better reporting of burial space research, and a new database (managed by the Archaeology Data Service) to store survey results and facilitate research that transcends individual figures or isolated sites. The project also produced a prototype mobile application, data entry tools, website, guidance documents and video tutorials to further support groups interested in undertaking their own surveys. The result is complete DEBS workflow, which groups can follow from forming the seed of a project idea, to surveying in the field, and culminating in archiving their research so that it is
accessible for years to come.

Three options are presented, in increasing scale and cost, for the future development and sustainability of the project.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages45
Publication statusUnpublished - 25 Nov 2019

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