University of Oulu

Lipkin, S., Kallio-Seppä, T. Introduction: Studying Under-Floor Church Burials in Finland––Challenges in Stewarding the Past for the Future. Hist Arch 55, 1–10 (2021).

Introduction : studying under-floor church burials in Finland — challenges in stewarding the past for the future

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Author: Lipkin, Sanna1; Kallio-Seppä, Titta1
Organizations: 1Department of Archaeology, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran katu 1, Linnanmaa, PL 8000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-03


Two ongoing projects at the University of Oulu, Finland, are studying burials situated below the floorboards of Finnish churches. The projects examine mortality and materiality in Finland using an exceptionally well-preserved assemblage of mummified human remains. Multidisciplinary research methods, including CT scanning, μCT scanning, sampling for DNA and isotope analysis, and insect and plant samples, are providing multifaceted information concerning past societies. The samples provide rich insight into the material dimensions of mortality in northern Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since the studied material is located under the floors of church buildings that are still in use by congregations, obtaining permits for research and sampling has required managing relationships with separate parishes. This article outlines the projects and examines the ethical and legal dimensions of research on human remains conducted in partnership with individual parishes.

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Series: Historical archaeology
ISSN: 0440-9213
ISSN-E: 2328-1103
ISSN-L: 0440-9213
Volume: 55
Pages: 1 - 10
DOI: 10.1007/s41636-020-00267-z
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Funding: The authors are grateful to the Emil Aaltonen Foundation (Finland) and the Academy of Finland for funding this research. Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit