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Notes on the Geography of Norway: Indre Sogn: Photo 16

world pictures Norway: Indre Sogn

The Heibergske Samlinger, near Sogndal, is a museum of traditional Norwegian architecture. We'll spend some time looking at the "haves" and "have-nots" who lived in this world.

It was a tough, tough one. Consider the case of the Flam valley, about 25 miles to the south. In the late 19th century, nineteen families with 119 people survived on what the valley produced. It wasn't a lot. The valley had only 125 acres of cultivated land. Those acres yielded 200 barrels of barley and 305 barrels of potatoes. They also produced 5,000 kilograms of hay for 12 horses, 109 cattle and 330 sheep and goats. That wasn't nearly enough, so an additional 50,000 kilograms were collected by cutting grass in remote "outfields." Leaves were gathered, too, mostly birch but also elm and ash. In summer, the livestock lived off distant summer pastures that had been used since Roman times. (See Svein Indrelid, "The Farming System and its History in the Flam Valley, Western Norway," in Hilary H. Birks, et al. The Cultural Landscape--Past, Present, and Future (Cambridge, 1988).)

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