Biskop och stad: aspekter av urbanisering och sociala rum i medeltidens Linköping

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


Is it possible to understand a society and a certain place that is long since gone? The aim of this thesis is to study and analyse a historic period and its people through the remains of their material culture, the social relations and how these were materialized in an urban setting. The main subject of the empirical study, the medieval episcopal town of Linköping, has shifted out-look, function and meaning during different periods, but always with strong ideological expressions. Linköping can be interpreted as a central place in a large landscape – the diocese, the judicial district as well as a place for communications. The making of the new place – with two new churches situated at the point between the old inhabited landscape and a virgin new land – may be interpreted as a deliberate act of creating an ideologically important place, sustaining the claims of the new kingdom to come. During the 13th century the church was consolidated, a period that saw an immense building programme at the cathedral, the bishop’s palace as well as the foundation of the chapter, but still nothing that could be interpreted as an urban settlement. Not until the 1280s, Linköping was deliberately founded, probably by the king Magnus Ladulås and his brother bishop Bengt. The advent of the franciscan convent may be seen as the birth of the town. At the beginning of the 14th century there are also the first archaeological indications of an urban settlement. Finally, the written records gives a very clear indication of urban plots and yards, as well as clear indications of the legislative and administrative network. It is, however, not until the end of the 14th century that we have indications of an expanding and denser settlement and a more varied material culture. During the second half of the 14th century a residing chapter was created, i.e. a lots of canons (members of the chapter) moving from manors in the countryside and settling down at large yards around the cathedral. These residences, with stone-houses in multiple storeys and two-room plan, are interpreted as an aristocratic feature, especially suited to act as a symbol of unity and strength, in a hostile period when the old priviliges of the church were questioned. The residences may be seen as an obvious example of creating an ideological space, a reshaping of the topography in order to create a certain kind of material culture with a certain message. From the analyse we learn that space and material culture changes features, functions and meanings during diffferent historic periods. Space and material culture may be interpreted as different medias, in which social structure is mediated and materialised. A tendency in the Middle Age history of Linköping is that different social actors and groups have used the town as a meeting place for social interaction. By identifying these relations and how they were altered in a changing society, it is possible to study the changing society itself.


  • Göran Tagesson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • Arkeologi, Archaeology, Medeltidens historia, Medieval history, sacral topography, residential yards, chapter, bishop, urban identity, urbanization, material culture, spatial analyses, Sweden, Middle Ages
Translated title of the contributionBishop and Town : Aspects of Urbanization and Social Space in Medieval Linköping
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 May 24
  • Almqvist & Wiksell International
Print ISBNs91-22-01957-X
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2002-05-24 Time: 10:15 Place: Samarkand AF-huset, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Hiekkanen, Markus Title: Docent Affiliation: Helsinki ---

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