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Reconstruction sketch of the yard at Høybøen, Fjell

Reconstruction sketch of the yard at Høybøen. (watercolor: Marvin Halleraker, rekonstruction: Arkikon, 1993).

In connection with the planned developments in the oil sector at Vindenes around 1980, excavations were carried out under the auspices of Bergen Historical Museum. Exceptionally interesting traces of an old farm at Høybøen then came to light. These were the remnants of a farm where there had been two houses containing several rooms.

Høybøen is an isolated farm that had been worked up to 1349-50. There are fairly certain data for a period of use between 1100 and the middle of 1300 when the farm was left desolate following the Black Death. Høybøen may possibly have been in use during several periods.

This farm site has contained two parallel houses in the yard, with a slate-covered path in between an east-west orientation. The longest house appears to have had two rooms around a central corridor. The archaeologists interpret one of the rooms as an ‘inside-house’, perhaps a rough kitchen or living room with a fireplace in the corner, and the other room as a cowshed. To the far west there may have been a shed and/or a workshop. The smallest house has had two rooms and a shed facing east, perhaps a store and a room with a fireplace. It seems that the houses have had wooden walls inside outer walls of stone. One of the houses may have had a slate roof.

We therefore envisage houses with several rooms in a row, with sheds, stores and passageways around the main rooms, as we know the principles of houses with multiple rooms of the type still standing at Boga on Radøy. Whether such houses with several functions under the same roofs are called ‘multiple room houses’ or ‘long houses’ may be a question of definition. It is the association of primary functions that is the interesting aspect; living room, rough kitchen, storeroom and a loft room. In the Middle Ages it is clear that both long houses and smaller houses have been found side by side, depending on the situation of the terrain and location on the site.

  • Floor plan Høybøen

Floor plan Høybøen (Nils Georg Brekke).

  • Excavation of long house sites, Høybøen

Excavation of long house sites. (Kjersti Randers, 1977).

  • Long house from Ytre Fosse, Alversund

Long house and “litlastova” (small house) from later centuries in the yard at Ytre Fosse, Alversund, a site similar to Høybøen. (Nils Georg Brekke).

Desolate farms from the middle ages

  • Randers, K. (1981) Høybøen: en ødegård på Sotra. Hovedfagsoppgave, Universitetet i Bergen.