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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.
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.
At Salthamaren in Vangdalsberget it is thought that salt was burned some time in history, and deep layers of coal in the ground show that fire has been made up here several times. But they were hardly salt-burners, the first people who stopped here. Some of them carved figures into the rock. On top of the rocky outcrop, furthest out on the cliff, a group of Stone Age hunters carved animal figures. More than 1,500 years later Bronze Age farmers drew ship figures at the foot of the rock. Both these works of art - some of the oldest in Hordaland – are still visible, carved in the rock at Salthamaren.
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.