What do a recording project measuring the effects of climate change on coastal archaeology, and the digitisation of burial records from 18th and 19th century London have in common? They’re two of our most exciting citizen science projects!  

We're delighted to announce that after years of hard work from our CITiZAN and Stories of St James’s Burial Ground volunteers, the data from both projects is now available for everyone to access for free through the Archaeological Data Service (ADS)! 

Stories of St James’s Burial Ground - Zooniverse 

Between 2018 and 2021 we carefully excavated 20,000 burials from the former St James’s Burial Ground, right next to Euston Station, as part of HS2’s archaeology work. The largest of its kind ever undertaken in the UK, this excavation has provided us an unprecedented opportunity to understand life during one of the capital’s most exciting periods of history, at the height of the Industrial Revolution.

You can find out more about the excavations with Alice Roberts in Britain’s Biggest Dig, which is available on BBC iPlayer  

In August 2021, the call went out for volunteers to help digitise a huge 57,639 burial records relating to St James’s. These held key details about the lives of Londoners in the 18th- and 19th-century, all in beautiful copperplate handwriting... which isn’t the easiest to read! Over 2,500 volunteers from across the world answered our call, and for the last 3 years they have been combing through records, transcribing over 4000 pages of entries.

A scanned copy of one page of the burial records
A page from the St James's burial records

Their discoveries have included with fascinating details about the lives of the people buried at St James’s, who came from all walks of life. Together with the results of analysis by our osteologists (human bone experts) and finds specialists, their findings inspired an interactive exhibition hosted at St James’s Parish Church in Piccadilly and Camden Local Studies Centre, in Spring-Summer 2023. You can explore the exhibition online here

And now you can explore the data yourself! The names and details of thousands of forgotten Londoners can now be easily searched. So, whether you’re looking for someone specific, or just want to uncover some of the incredibly diverse communities of Georgian and Victorian London, you’ll have the information at your fingertips. The credit for this mammoth task goes to our incredible volunteers who took on the task and triple checked the records, submitting their interpretations of the copperplate handwriting into the Zooniverse platform.

We’ve included two versions of the data – one dataset which details all versions of spellings submitted by volunteers (which really opens up your search options) and one dataset where an algorithm has narrowed down the ‘most likely correct’ result.   

The data can be downloaded directly from the ADS site by following this link


Our incredible CITiZAN project probably needs no introduction... 

But if you didn’t know - CITiZAN is the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network. Since 2015 we have brought together communities across England to monitor at-risk coastal sites. 

a group of people on a beach
CITiZAN staff and volunteers out recording

Now CITiZAN's intertidal archaeology dataset is live! Almost 6,000 images of archaeological features around England's coast, recorded by our volunteers over 7 years.  

This is one of the largest collections of intertidal archaeology surveys carried out by citizen scientists in England. The dataset contains a valuable record of part of our country's history which is extremely vulnerable to the climate crisis.  

Without the work of our dedicated volunteers, many of these sites would have vanished with no record.  

See the hard work of our team and explore the archaeology of the tideline through the Unpath'd Waters portal by following this link