Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons), Mons

4.1
#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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Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons) Reviews
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  • The site is very well laid out and the descent into the mine is very secure. Beautiful half day!!!
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  • This archeological site and its museum represented an extraordinary surprise. Tucked between the hills of the community of Spiennes, amidst the bocacios surrounding the Riachuelo Valley "La Trouille", lies one of the most interesting prehistoric mines of Silex in Europe. It is there that under the leadership of archaeologists Walones as Hélène Collet, which was built one of the most innovative museums that I have known in Europe. The site presents a very complete approximation to what was the extraction of the silex necessary for the manufacture of axes and arrowheads by Homo sapiens, more than 5.000 years ago. The museum is magnificent, and presents an integration of exhibition of objects and didactic explanations with the exploratory wells that the archaeologists themselves investigate there. And if it were not enough, the visitor has the possibility of going down to the mine to know in situ the details of the stone, as well as the challenges that represented its extraction. The warmth and enthusiasm of the staff in charge is worth mentioning. Congratulations to Silex's
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