Locality 11 (Setesdalen)

We are back from a long and arduous expedition into Setesdalen (valley of pastures) in the south of Norway. We followed the Otra river which flows from the Hardangervidda plateau to the north. The traditional district is known for its' wealth of Norwegian folk art, rugged nature and wildlife. Local folk costumes, architecture, dialects, dance, customs, and cuisine are a point of cultural focus all through the valley. In Bygland, a small inland farming community, we encountered a group of local children who volunteered to show us the remains of some kid huts nearby. As it turned out, the children were in fact the constructors of the site, which is the largest site documented so far. It overlooked a wonderful valley of pastures, mountains, rivers and valleys, and as it happened, a small flock of grazing reindeer.

The site itself consisted of several constructions scattered within an area of approximately 500 m2 and partly concealed in the dark spruce forest. The largest constructions rested between trees, complete with small verandas resembling architectural details in the traditional cottages also found nearby.

The local children could reveal that the plan was to create a complete miniature tree hut community where it would be possible to walk between the individual huts without touching the ground. In fact, this proved to be a very sound adaptation within the area. The dense forest canopy made little sun penetrate into the area, leaving the ground very moist. Several small buckets were found in the area, indicating that the children had recognized the need for drainage of the site. However, according to the children, the site had partially been abandoned. The reasons were apparently climatic changes: frequent storms had made the area hazardous since several large trees had fallen down and destroyed some huts. Another reason was the lack of proper materials to complete the original project of creating an entire tree hut community. Alas, another abandoned utopia...

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