Constructions in Space: Framing Similarities between Medieval Churchyards and Towns


  • Anna Hed Jakobsson Department of Archaeology, Stockholm University



architectural layout, regulated space, power, Viking Age, Middle Age


The symbolism present in medieval church buildings and church interiors has been extensively studied. The aim of this article is to draw attention to the less considered space surrounding the churches, that is the churchyards. The layout larchitecture) of the churchyard must have been just as meaningful as the church itself. In the present interpretation it is suggested that the Scandinavian churchyard, due to its form, was associated with the town and its connotations. The churchyard is proposed to have been apprehended as a "piece of town" moved out into the rural landscape, representing some of the things that the town or city stood for: the ideal society, the centre of the world and a manifestation of power (and perhaps also contra-power). The point of departure is the observation that medieval churchyards in their layout resemble in some respects how the contemporaneous towns were spatially organised.


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How to Cite

Hed Jakobsson, A. (2001) “Constructions in Space: Framing Similarities between Medieval Churchyards and Towns”, Current Swedish Archaeology, 9(1), pp. 115–131. doi: 10.37718/CSA.2001.09.