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Everyone knows the famous painting by Tidemand & Gude “Brudeferden i Hardanger” (The Wedding Party in Hardanger) one of the great icons in the National Gallery. Some have, in a humorous lack of respect for this masterpiece linked the concept of “bride’s passage” to another pictorial presentation in Hardanger. This is found on the farm Bakko in Herand, carved in the rock by an unknown artist around 3,000 years ago.
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.
At Halnefjorden, a few hundred metres east of Halne mountain lodge, lie the remains of two stone sheds – Halnelægeret. Some generations ago the cattle drovers stopped here in the summer; they were the cowboys of their time. But Halnelægeret already had a long history before the cattle drovers came.
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.
Lurekalven is an unpopulated island of heather moor which is a part of the wilderness belonging to the five farms on Ytre Lygra. Between the two islands there is only a small sound. As late as the 1920s, milking cows were rowed over the sound from Lygra in summer – a form of farming that was adapted to the coastal landscape.
On a large gravel terrace in Matredalen (the Matre valley), a couple of kilometres from the coastal settlement Matre, lies Storseterhilleren, at the end of a large stone block that came rushing down from the mountain. The Matre river runs just over 100 metres to the east of the cave.