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Perusing space-time in medieval sacred architecture. Paths, bundles, and constraints in Endre church during a fifteenth-century mass

Journal article
Authors Gunnar Almevik
Published in Geografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography
Volume 99
Issue 3
Pages 360-379
ISSN 0435-3684
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Conservation
Pages 360-379
Language en
Keywords Space syntax, methodology, medieval parish church, time geography, building history, architectural history
Subject categories Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies, Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


This article investigates the spatial practice of a medieval mass by timegeography analysis and space-syntax analysis. The aim is methodological to test whether these methods of human geography and architectural research may contribute to cultural historical research on religious buildings and reveal new aspects of the complex relations between people and buildings. The analysis is based on building investigations and a re-enactment of a medieval mass in Endre Church on the Swedish island of Gotland. The re-enactment was filmed in 1989 by Swedish Television following an original mass instruction from about 1436–1448. The methodological result indicates the advantage of combining timegeography analysis and space-syntax analysis to identify the relations between spatial practice and spatial formation. The combined use of methods, based on a full-scale re-enactment of a medieval mass, suggests that the spatial units of the church change with people’s different paths and agencies in the project. The interior church space is visually transparent, seemingly integrated and intelligible, but the mass initiates a production of social spaces that are layered with boundaries other than the church’s stone walls and screens.

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