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Kotedalen, Radøy

Archaeological excavations from Kotedalen

At the southern end of the bridge between Radøy and Fosnøy archaeologists found an unusual Stone Age settlement. There was a thick “cultural layer” here with the remains of the waste dumps of a hunting people. The place was called Kotedalen. Here they came, one group after the other, and settled for some weeks, some months, or maybe years before they went on, leaving the settlement deserted. Time after time it happened. At least 16 settlement phases have been identified, stretching over 5,500 years.

What was it that drew people out here time and again throughout 180 generations? We find the answer in the waste dumps - or more correctly in the tiny little remains of bones found some places in ashes or in fireplaces. A great many of the bones which could be identified were of fish. Amongst the mammals, seals and otters dominated, and amongst the birds there were only seabirds.

The finds show that, throughout time, it is the sea current, rich in fish, which have drawn people, animals and birds. Because Fosnstraumen is one of the best fishing areas in Nordhordland. Much fishing gear and the remains of fishing gear made of stone were found in the settlements, and a quantity of waste from the making of gear, about 230,000 pieces in total.

In the eldest layers right at the base of the settlement small, primitive flint axes, and arrowheads from the first coastal people were found. They settled here beside the sea current almost 10,000 years ago. But after them it seems that the place was forgotten and that it lay unused for about 1,500 years. About 6,400 BC another group of people came to Kotedalen and discovered the rich source of food. For the next 3,600 years the smoke often rose from the settlement on the edge of the woods in Fosnstraumen.

About 2,800 BC - at the time when the first large pyramids were being built in Egypt --- the settlement at Kotedalen was closed down for good. They certainly continued to fish in the current, as much as ever before, but the settlements were situated elsewhere. After this it was regard to arable land and grazing grounds which decided where it was best to settle.


  • From archaeological excavations, Radøy

From archaeological excavations (Knut A. Bergsvik).

  • Hooks and rope from the Stone Age

Hooks and rope were, together with spears, the commonest forms of fishing gear in the Stone Age (Ann Mari Olsen).

  • A map of the settlements at Fosnstraumen, Radøy

Map of the settlements at Fosnstraumen.

  • Bone fragments

Fishing in Fosnstraumen

  • Hufthammer, A. K. (1992) Zoologisk materiale fra Kotedalen. I: Arkeo, 1992 (1), s. 8-11.
  • Olsen, A. B. (1992) Yngre steinalder i Kotedalen. I: Arkeo, 1992 (1), s. 21-25.
  • Warren, E. J. (1992) Eldre steinalder i Kotedalen. I: Arkeo, 1992 (1), s. 17-20.