1st Edition

Coins in Churches Archaeology, Money and Religious Devotion in Medieval Northern Europe

    482 Pages 166 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    482 Pages 166 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on the formative period of Church reform in the Middle Ages in Northern Europe, when the Church paved the way for the development of money economy on its own doorstep.

    Church archaeology provides evidence for patterns of monetary use related to liturgy, church architecture and devotional culture through the centuries. This volume encompasses Alpine European evidence, with emphasis on Gotland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland, which opens up a new field of research on religion and money for an international audience. Based on 100,000 single finds of coins from the 11th to 18th centuries from 650 Scandinavian churches, the volume offers an in-depth discussion of the concepts of ritual, liturgy and devotional uses of money, monetary space and spiritual economy within the framework of Christendom, the medieval church and church architecture.

    Written by international scholars, Coins in Churches will be a valuable resource for readers interested in the history of religion, money, the economy, and church architecture in Northern Europe in the Middle Ages.

    Part 1: Money and Religious Devotion

    1. Money and Religious Devotion in Medieval Northern Europe

    Svein H. Gullbekk, Christoph Kilger, Steinar Kristensen and Håkon Roland

    2. Pious gifts: Coins and Church Interior

    Martin Wangsgaard Jürgensen

    Part 2: Coin finds in Scandinavian churches

    3. The archaeology of church floors

    Henriette Rensbro

    4. Digitizing the past – A rewarding challenge for the present. The Digitizing process of analogue data from excavation in medieval churches

    Steinar Kristensen

    5. Moving money, ritual money - Studying monetary and ritual space in Bunge church on medieval Gotland

    Christoph Kilger

    6. Coin finds of Høre stave church, Oppland Norway: Reflections of regulation and conflict in the Middle Ages

    Jon Anders Risvaag

    7. Eidskog church revisited: Coin finds, architecture and devotional use of money

    Håkon Roland

    8. Coins and monastic liturgy in the Middle Ages. A study of St Mary’s Benedictine Nunnery in Bergen, Norway

    Alf Tore Hommedal

    9. The Archaeological Landscape under Church Floors. Coins and Contexts in Aggersborg Church, Jutland, Denmark.

    Henriette Rensbro and Jens Christian Moesgaard

    10. Coins in Church Contexts – Hedensted church, Jutland, Denmark

    Gitte Tarnow Ingvardson

    11. Building for Glory. Coins in the houses of the Lord in Gränna and Arby, Sweden

    Nanouschka Myrberg Burström

    12. Coin finds and coin use in the medieval round church at Klåstad, Östergötland, Sweden

    Henrik Klackenberg

    13. Jomala church, Åland Islands — Coin offerings to the Virgin Mary and the long Reformation

    Eeva Jonsson

    Part 3: Coin finds in churches in Central Alpine Europe

    14. Inside the church: Coin-finds and liturgical topography. A survey of the Central Alpine Europe evidence

    Benedikt Zäch


    Svein H. Gullbekk is Professor of numismatics and history of money at Museum of Cultural History, Oslo University; and is Principal Investigator for the project "Religion and Money: Economy of Salvation in the Middle Ages".

    Christoph Kilger is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland. He specializes in Viking and medieval archaeology and numismatics, especially relating to social, economic and monetary history of Northern Europe.

    Steinar Kristensen is Senior Engineer at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, with responsibility for digital documentation of major excavation projects. He specializes in GIS technology in archaeological contexts.

    Håkon Roland is Associate Professor of numismatics and classical archaeology at Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. He has a long record of publication on numismatics, archaeology and within Heritage studies.

     ‘This publication is rich in a diverse range of material: for archaeologists it offers a touchstone for interpretations of similar sites and practices; for Church historians it opens up a new area to be taken account of; and numismatists will recognise the benefits to be derived from analysis of the coin evidence. A comprehensive index and full bibliography greatly facilitate interrogation of the volume’ – Medieval Archaeology, Volume 67:1

    ‘[The introductory articles] form an impressive unit that explains not only the social use of money in the Middle Ages, but also the patterns of pecuniary behaviour within the church building … the book, which is strongly influenced by the ideas of the new numismatics, constitutes a fresh element in the research literature dealing with medieval society’ - Peter Carelli in META 2024 (translated from Swedish).