Fæstninger, magasiner og symboler - Østersøens flertydige kirker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Källa on Öland is used as a point of departure in a discussion of the so-called defensive churches or multi-functional churches at the Baltic Sea. The categorization of medieval society into four separate spheres, the church, the castle, the town and the countryside, is criticised as having created a heterogenous group of deviant churches. The deviant churches have been interpreted in three competitive perspectives: 1) defense, 2) profane function and 3) symbolic form. However, to understand the deviant churches it is necessary to combine the perspectives. The multi-functional churches represented a fusion, where the sacred and the profane were integrated. The whole point was, that a broad specter of functions such as hostelry, residence and store were made sacred by being integrated in the church building or church yard. Most of the multi-functional churches at the Baltic Sea belong to the period c. 1170-1240 and might be connected to the Danish empire, the crusades and the Saint Canute Guilds. When peace broke down in the 1240s, some of the multi-functional churches were symbolically fortified as also several towns and many manors.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • Medieval churches, crusades
Translated title of the contributionFortresses, Storehouses and Symbols - ambiguous churches of the Baltic Sea
Original languageDanish
Pages (from-to)26-58
JournalMETA: Medeltidsarkeologisk tidskrift
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch

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