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Digital Epitaphs Workshop

Digital Epitaphs

A workshop at the University of Reading

Friday 18th May, 11am-12.30pm

Edith Morley 175

‘To afford a subject for heroic poems is the privilege of very few, but every man may expect to be recorded in an epitaph’ — Samuel Johnson, ‘An Essay on Epitaphs’ (1740)

Confirmed participants:

  • Professor Harold Mytum (Archaeology, University of Liverpool)
  • Dr Gabriel Bodard (Digital Classics, University of London)
  • Dr Charlotte Tupman (Digital Humanities and Ancient History, University of Exeter)
  • Dr Giles Bergel (Digital Humanities and History of the Book, University of Oxford).

Epitaphs, or memorial inscriptions, are a rich resource for researchers in a wide range of academic disciplines, including social, intellectual and cultural history, art and architecture, and archaeology. Produced across the British Isles and beyond, by and for non-elite as well as elite social groups, they offer an opportunity to analyse commemorative practices and community values from the middle ages to the present.

One of the barriers to research on memorial inscriptions is that these texts are scattered across thousands of places of worship and graveyards. Local and family history societies have published some transcriptions of monuments in print and online, but the requirements of this user group are different from those of academic researchers. Their data are often geared towards searches on particular names and places, rather than the analysis of broader social and cultural formations.

Digital tools have the potential to transform the data generated by family history societies in ways that could help both community groups and academic researchers. ‘Digital Epitaphs’ is a workshop that brings together researchers from the Universities of Reading, Exeter, Liverpool, and London and collaborators from the Oxfordshire Family History Society and Historic Graves. The aim of the workshop is to explore the ways in which EpiDoc – a set of guidelines and tools developed to encode ancient inscriptions – might be adapted for use with vernacular monuments.


Colleagues from across Reading and beyond are very welcome to join us in Edith Morley 175 for a roundtable discussion from 11am-12.30pm. A more focused discussion on funding possibilities will take place in EM 175 from 1.30-3pm. All colleagues interested in the project are welcome to attend this open meeting.


To register interest in this meeting, or for more information, please contact Rebecca Bullard (Department of English Literature): r.bullard@reading.ac.uk


This workshop is supported by the Early Modern Research Centre and the Archives and Materialities research cluster of the Department of English Literature.


18 May 2018
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
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Dr Rebecca Bullard, English Literature


Edith Morley, Room 175
Reading, RG6 6BL United Kingdom
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