Accessibility statement

Dr Toby Pillatt
UKRI Researcher



My background is in landscape history and archaeology, where my research has focused on experiences of weather and the management of trees across the post-medieval landscapes of Britain. More recently, I have garnered extensive experience of interdisciplinary working, particularly spanning heritage, archaeology, design and human-computer interaction, and a strong commitment to public engagement, part-cultivated within the AHRC’s Connected Communities programme. I taught Cultural Heritage Management and aspects of archaeology for several years at the University of Sheffield.

At York, I have worked between the Department of Archaeology and Digital Creativity Labs on the Discovering England’s Burial Spaces (DEBS) project, developing tools and resources for community-led archaeological surveys of graveyard monuments.

I am now a Researcher Co-I on a project funded as part of UKRI’s Future of UK Treescapes programme. ‘Branching Out: New Routes to Valuing Urban Treescapes’ seeks to develop new approaches for valuing trees in planning and management processes by mapping biophysical and spatial characteristics of trees alongside their social and cultural values. My role is to develop computer vision approaches for identifying trees within historical maps and documents in order to rapidly plot the development of urban treescapes over the past 150 years.

Having helped organise CHAT 2015 in Sheffield, I am on the editorial board of BAR Publishing’s Contemporary and Historical Archaeology Series.

In addition to my work at York, I also work for Sheffield City Council as part of their Community Forestry team.

In my spare time I enjoy singing with a local community choir and supporting the Sheffield Steelers ice hockey team.



  • 2021-2024: Researcher Co-Investigator, NERC-funded Branching Out: New Routes to Valuing Urban Treescapes - NE/V020846/1
  • 2019-2020: Project Manager, Historic England-funded Discovering England’s Burial Spaces
  • 2017-8: Co-Investigator, AHRC-funded Hacking the Bees – AH/P009581/1
    • A follow-on project building on Telling the Bees, using drama, art, design and storytelling to explore playful, immersive ways of discussing and examining environmental issues
  • 2015-6: Senior Researcher, AHRC-funded Tree Health and the Structure of Rural Tree Populations 1550-2015
    • Case studies in landscape history, placing contemporary tree disease epidemics in historical perspective
  • 2015-6: Co-Investigator, AHRC-funded Telling the Bees - AH/M009319/1
    • An inter-disciplinary Connected Communities project re-coding contemporary and historical beekeeping knowledge for future generations
  • 2015-6: Co-Investigator, AHRC-funded Working with Social Haunting: Past- and present-making in two 'communities of value' - AH/M009262/1
    • Examining 'Social Haunting' in the Co-operative College, Manchester, and the Community Branch of Unite the Union in South Yorkshire


Contact details

Dr Toby Pillatt
Department of Archaeology
University of York
King's Manor
Exhibition Square