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Numerous finds show that the settlement at Herdla goes back to prehistoric times, and the large estate at Herdla has enjoyed a central place in the nation’s history since High Middle Ages. As Ask, Herdla was part of the country estate Harald Hårfagre took over as he took command of the west of Norway.
For almost three thousand years Tjernagelshaugen (the Tjernagel cairn) has lain as a landmark at the Bømlo fjord. The poet Torarin mentions the cairn in his account of Knut the Mighty, who in the year of 1028 sailed from Denmark to Nidaros: “And in front of the old cairn at Tjernagel sailed soldiers sharp with peace”.
B.E.Bendixen, who has written about “The Churches in Søndre Bergenhus Amt”, believed even around 1900 that there was evidence at Tyssøy of the church or the chapel of the Holy Ludvig (Louis). Two large stone blocks had lain in the western wall of the church’s nave, and this wall showed a length of 16 meters in the terrain.
Tælavåg has a significant place in the history of the German occupation in WWII. The small community by the sea, where for centuries people had made a living from farming and fishing in harmony with the natural resources, in 1942 became the victim of German reprisals without their equal in Norwegian war history. The collection of war histories in Tælavåg provides us with a close-up of the dramatic events.
The prehistoric site at Årbakkasanden with menhirs and burial mounds has been visited, described and illustrated by many learned researchers through the last 350 years. All the same, we still know very little of this unique cultural monument.