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Alvøen is one of the oldest industrial places in Norway. As early as the 1620s a gunpowder mill was built here. The place itself was well situated for industrial activity, lying only 100 m from the waterfall, which provided power for the mill, and a good harbour wherefrom the products were shipped. The success of the gun-powder mill varied in the 1600s and 1700s, but what made Alvøen best known was its paper production.
Kinsarvik has probably been a centre for the inner Hardanger districts back in prehistory. History tells us that in medieval times there was a marketing place, a “kaupang”, here; a connecting point in the communications between east and west. There were supposedly around 300 residents here but the place was likely wiped out in a great fire.
Steatite is a type of stone that is abundant in Hardanger. There are large steatite deposits in the mountain below Folgefonna. These deposits are visible both in Krossdalen in Jondal, at Kveitno in Odda and at Måge in Ullensvang. There are many traces of steatite quarrying in Hardanger, and one of the largest fields is in the hillside above Måge.