Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
Close to the tunnel opening at Amalie Skrams vei in Ssandviken, there is a cultural monument of European dimensions; a rope making works that produced rope and fishing tackle for West and North Norway.
The biggest prehistoric burial site in Hordaland is situated at Hæreid. On top of the terrace expanse, inside the fine birch garden, is where they lie, the mounds and stone piles, on their own or in clusters, large and small, round and elongated – at least 350 in all.
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.
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.
The farmhouses at holding No. 15 at Hopland are built together to form a long, continuous building, with dwelling house, hayshed and cowshed built in one row. There have been many such joined structures in the coastal communities, but today there are few remaining. If we travel to the other side of the North Sea, to the Faeroes, Shetland and the Orkney Islands, we find corresponding features in the older building traditions. We find ourselves in a large North Atlantic cultural area.
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.
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.
The Dale farm lies well situated on the gravel by the river, below the mountain Beitelen. But a few stone throws further north, on the wide expanse behind the houses, there has been an older farmstead. Here there have been found a number of cooking hollows, pole holes, an old road and traces of something believed to have been a palisade. Finds from this oldest farmstead may be dated to the time of the migrations, 400-600 years A.D.
In front of Fitjar Church there is a memorial stone, sculpted by Anne Grimdalen and erected in 1961, for the thousand-year memorial of one of the most dramatic events in Norway’s history, the Battle of Fitjar. This was the place where Norway’s king, Håkon the Good, suffered his fatal injury in the fight with Eirik’s sons, probably in the year 961.