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Interactive witchcraft map

New website launched visualises the data from the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Database (1563 to 1736).

Screengrab of Witches website focusing on the 34 accused witches in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Equate Scotland student intern, Emma Carroll, worked with Wikimedian in Residence Ewan McAndrew, during the summer to geolocate the place names recorded in the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Database (1563 to 1736), and find the place of residence of 3,141 accused Scottish witches.

Through Emma’s detective work c.500 place-names have been located using Ordnance Survey maps, place-name books, historical maps, and gazetteers. This data was uploaded into Wikidata, as linked open data and further enriched with the location of detentions, trials, place of death, and more.

Richard Lawson, ISG web developer, provided the technical expertise for the new website and graphic design was contributed by Interactive Content Manager Stewart Lamb Cromar. The interactive maps produced by Emma, including timelines and choropleth maps, can be found at

Survey of Scottish Witchcraft

The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft is the work of academics in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, notably Julian Goodare and Louise Yeoman, who kindly lent their support and expertise to Emma and Ewan over the summer. With research commencing 2001, this original resource for the history of witchcraft and witch-hunting in Scotland was first published in 2003.

Not only does the project help highlight the power of data science but also shows the capability of Wikidata to aid in the making of all of the different visualisations.

Emma CarrollEquate Scotland Careerwise intern (or ‘Witchfinder General’)
Emma Carroll sitting at her desk with witch visualisation on the computer display

Scotsman interview

Emma's research recently featured in a Scotsman newspaper article, quoting Wikimedian Ewan McAndrew:

The tragedy is that Scotland had five times the number of executions of women. The idea of being able to plot these on a map really brings it home. These places are near everyone. There does seem to be a growing movement that we need to be remembering these women, remembering what happened and understanding what happened.

Ewan McAndrewWikimedian in Residence

Interactive witchcraft map

Related links

The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database

Emma Carroll's internship blog

Equate Scotland Careerwise placement scheme

ALT Annual Conference 2019 presentation (5 minute video)

Scotsman article 'Map of Scots women accused of witchcraft published for first time'

Wikidata free knowledge base


(Ed. this article was originally published on 24 Oct, 2019)