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These homepages present the building history of the Åland churches and the research surrounding them. The research was initiated in 1990 by Åsa Ringbom.

The Åland Islands consist of an archipelago of more than 6000 islands between Sweden and Finland, inhabited since the Stone Age when the first islands emerged from the sea. During the Middle Ages several churches were erected in the Islands, twelve of them built in stone. In addition several minor chapels were erected, either in stone or in wood. The Åland churches, consisting of twelve stone churches in a restricted area form a homogenous group, easy to survey. Since contemporary written sources concerning the churches are scarce, however, their chronology has been an open question.

The aim of the Åland churches project is to publish a series of monographs on these churches, Volumes I-VIII, one for each mother-church with adjoining chapel. Each church and chapel will be presented with a thorough documentation, in word and image. The building history of the churches will be presented, from the foundation until the present day, as will their interior fittings and the decorations. The special features of the Åland churches will be enhanced and the focus lies on chronological issues. Many different questions are dealt with: How were the churches built, and how did they develop during the Catholic Middle Ages? And what  can they tell us about the medieval period in the Islands?  The goal is to be able to objectively define the chronology of the Åland churches, and their influence on the history in the Islands.

The research has been sponsored by the Academy of Finland (1990-1997) and by the Åland University of Applied Sciences/The Åland Government (1997-2010). The parallel project ”International Mortar Dating” (2007-2011) was funded, once more, by the Academy of Finland.

About Åsa Ringbom: Professor emerita of Art History, Åbo Akademi University, and professor emerita at the Åland University of Applied Sciences.  Leader of the Åland churches project 1990-2010, and leader of the International Mortar Dating project 2007-2011.

Further sponsors to be mentioned are: The Åbo Akademi Foundation, the Finnish Society of Letters and Sciences.

Among Åsa Ringbom’s further interests can be mentioned general architectural history, medieval art history, the iconography of the dolphin, the smile in the arts through the ages, medieval Rome, and the age of Constantine the Great.