The word “Helleren” describes an overhanging rock formation, and the word occurs in several old place names in Norway, where a “heller” offers shelter to people and animals. The 60 meters long Helleren in Jøssingfjord has a history extending back to the early Stone Age. The rock shelter in Jøssingfjord is one of the largest of its type in Norway.
Helleren houses (Duration: 1-3 hours)
The houses under the rock shelter are without proper roofing because the 10 meters deep overhanging rock protects the buildings today like it did in the past. In the black, rich cultural layer covering the ground at Helleren, archaeologists have traced settlements from the early Stone Age. The architecture of the present houses can be traced back to the early 1800s, but parts of the buildings may be older. People eked out a living on fish from the sea and domestic animals (typically sheep) that could survive on the little fodder available. Helleren was abandoned in the 1920s.
In the past, Jøssingfjord was almost inaccessible over land and the sea provided the most important route. The winding road with its tunnels down to Helleren was completed in 1921. Before this the land route was via small tracks down the steep hillside. Jøssingfjord is now a very important harbour for the export of ilmenite ore from the mine at Tellnes.
To access Jøssingfjord with the Helleren houses, follow road FV 44.
(Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jechstra // Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0)