The Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes is the largest and oldest group of ancient mines in Europe. They were used by Neolithic (or stone-age) people to dig for flint nodules about 6000 years ago. The flint nodules were then fashioned into flint axes. Spread over an area of 100 hectares, the flint mines exhibit diverse ways and methods used in ancient mining. The mining was carried out for over 1,800 years at Spiennes, south of Mons, in Belgium. During that time, thousands of shafts were bored.
The flint mines at Spiennes were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 24th session of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Cairns, Australia, from 27 November to 2 December, 2000. In the inscription, the mines were lauded for being an exceptional testimony to early human inventiveness. The mines illustrate the arrival of Neolithic cultures, marking a major milestone in human cultural and technological development.
Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes
Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes, Belgium
Author: Donarreiskoffer (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)
What to See in Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes
There are two main types of flint mines at Spiennes, the opencast and the underground. The flint nodules were mines using deer antlers as pick axes.
World Heritage Site Inscription Details
Location: N 50 25 50.8 E 3 58 43.6
Inscription Year: 2000
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: I, III, IV
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Visiting Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes
Your base for visiting this World Heritage Site is Brussels. From Brussels you can make the arrangements for visiting the Neolithic Flint Mines of Spiennes. Get a full list of hotels in Belgium here.
The Spiennes Flint Mines is open to visitors on the first Sunday of each month, from March to November, from 10 o'clock in the morning to 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The upcoming openings are on 7 March, 2010, 4 April 2010, 2 May 2010, 6 June 2010, 4 July 2010 and 1 August 2010. The admission fee is €2.50 per adult and €1.25 per child aged 12 accompanied by parents.
If you are coming in a group of over 12 persons, you can arrange a group visit by appointment. Send your reservations to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +32 (0) 65 35 34 78.
The temperature inside the flint mines range between 8° to 10°C, so be sure to wear appropriate clothing. Bringing rain gear is a good idea. Wear sport shoes for climbing. Only children aged 12 and above area allowed to join the trip.
Spiennes is about 5 km to the south of Mons. You can reach Mons from Brussels by taking the expressway E19 south.
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