SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2000

The Restoration of Sodankylä Old Church 1992–1995


In 1689 a wooden church was built in Lapland at Sodankylä. The building type, the horizontal log construction with block pillars, originates from the medieval times. Size of the church was 8.5 m × 13.5 m (28 ft × 44 ft), and the height, 8 m (26 ft). In 1778 the church was “modernized” by adding a wooden shingle roof and wooden panel cladding. Then, in 1859 the church was abandoned. In the 1920s a restoration was carried out by the National Board of Antiquities. In 1950 the roof was made of industrially sawn wooden shingles on bitumen felt. Some minor repairs took place in the 1950s, 1970, and 1985. The bitumen felt caused rotting of the shingles, and in 1972–95 a new wooden shingle roof and new wood panel were installed. The restoration principles considering authenticity were debated.

The work was financed mainly by the state employment program. It was done by traditional methods by hand. The shingles were carved by ax, the boards riven, handmade nails used and the bitumen felt was replaced by birch bark. Natural wood tar was used to protect the wood.

The total cost was about 2 million Fim (approximately $500,000). Knowledge of choosing, seasoning, working on and treating wood was gained during the building process.

Author Information

Kairamo, M
National Board of Antiquities, Helsinki, Finland
Price: $25.00
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Developed by Committee: E06
Pages: 131–150
DOI: 10.1520/STP13379S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5415-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2497-4