Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons), Mons

3.8
#4 of 8 in Historic Sites in Mons
The Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes are among the largest and earliest Neolithic flint mines which survive in north-western Europe, located close to the Walloon village of Spiennes, southeast of Mons, Belgium. The mines were active during the mid and late Neolithic between 4,300 and 2,200 BC. Declared to be "remarkable for the diversity of technological solutions used for extraction" the site and its surroundings were induced into the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 2000.DescriptionDiscovered in 1843, the first excavations were undertaken by the mining eningeer Alphonse Briart and two others during railway construction in 1867, with results presented to the International Prehistoric Congress held in Brussels in 1872. Intermittent excavations have been carried out up to the present day.The Mines of Spiennes cover some 100ha of downland four miles south-east of the city of Mons. The site is dotted with millions of scraps of worked flint and numerous mining pits, that Neolithic settlers have gradually turned into vertical mine shafts to depths of over 10m. Underneath is an elaborate man-made network of caverns accessible via the many shaftsA seminal stage of human inventiveness, technological and cultural application and progress, the transition between opencast and underground mining for flint nodules is impressively displayed and documented. Research has illustrated Neolithic techniques for the cutting of the flint and the extraction of large slabs of flint, that weighed up to hundreds of kilos. The nodules were extracted using flint picks. The stones were then knapped into rough-out shapes of axes, and finally polished to achieve the final state. The SILEX'S Interpretive Centre has opened in spring 2015.
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  • So after trying both navigation methods which took us to dead end road & the next one via a dirt 4-wheel track to nowhere. Finally saw a sign to follow only to find out parking is about a kilometer.....  more »
  • When I and two friends made the trip to see the mines and handed over our money at the reception we were then greeted by a room with some posters on the wall and some rocks in some cabinets, no...  more »
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