Heritage Burial Services is a specialist department within Oxford Archaeology entirely dedicated to burials

A market leader in burial archaeology in the UK, we work with ancient and early modern burials (cremations and inhumations) from sites all over the country and in Europe. This can be anything from an isolated cremation or inhumation to large cemeteries incorporating hundreds, even thousands of inhumations.

With more than 30 years’ experience we have been involved in some of the country’s most exciting and internationally significant burial archaeology projects. 

We are committed to working to the highest professional, academic, commercial, and ethical standards and conform to national standards for the excavation and post-excavation analysis of human remains and related archaeology. All staff have professional qualifications in osteology or related fields and are members of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO).

In addition to standard burial contexts, we have expertise in complex burial deposits, such as mass graves; large burial grounds, logistically challenging projects, such as deep burials, and high-profile operations.

As forerunners in the field, we have extensive experience in the archaeology of post-medieval and industrial-period churchyards, crypts, and vaults. Our pioneering approach allows suitable levels of scientific recovery and analysis to meet the potential of this highly significant archaeological resource, whilst still observing all appropriate health and safety, ethical and legal requirements and considerations, and maintaining development timetables and cost-effective budgets.

The services we provide for you

With a dedicated team of specialists based in Oxford, Lancaster, and Cambridge, we have the capacity to provide a full range of burial archaeology services, including:

  • Consultancy/desk based assessments
  • Identification of human remains
  • Up to date legal advice
  • Fieldwork
  • Funerary archaeology
  • Post-medieval burial archaeology
  • Watching briefs: small works at parish churches
  • Post-excavation assessment of human remains
  • Skeletal analysis
  • Client reports
  • Analysis and recording of coffins, coffin fittings and above ground memorials
  • Advice on radiological and biomolecular analysis of human remains
  • Online burials database
  • Training and community engagement
  • Publication
Viking-age mass grave on the Dorset Ridgeway