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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.
If you take the sea route north you have several options. The various routes have been dealt with in history, and through the Middle Ages the traffic increased as well as the trading with Nordland in fish and herring, feather and down. One of the central routes passes through Kjelstraumen, in the sound between Ulvøy and Bakkøy. This has been a place for a guesthouse since 1610, with Royal Letter of Privilege, part of the large network of trading post and guesthouse locations along the coast.
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.
For vel 7000 år sidan var Straume ein av dei beste – om ikkje den beste – veideplassen i Hordaland. Steinalderfolket som busette seg ved Skipshelleren, skjøna truleg ikkje kor heldige dei var. Mellom dei opptil 2 meter tjukke dyngjene med stein og bein som arkeologar grov fram i 1931–32, fann dei reiskapar og avfall frå fangst og matstell. Frå dette materialet har arkeologane stava seg fram til livet ved straumen.