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A true centre of discovery

How many of us have an “in-depth” knowledge of the richness of this site, despite its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

How many of us have ever gone underground from Rue du Point Jour? In December 2000, UNESCO experts recognised the Spiennes Neolithic flint mines (dating from the end of prehistory) as World Heritage of Humanity (like the Belfry and the Doudou). However, there was still a need to show people these riches, make the most of the site, and give tourists a dignified welcome. The mines needed a reception centre. The preliminary work was carried out, presented to locals and will finally open to the public in spring 2015.

About a thousand people used to descend each year into the underground galleries from Rue du Point du Jour in Spiennes, in fairly rudimentary conditions. The idea was to develop the site without turning it into a mainstream tourist attraction. The developments will enable visitors to descend in complete safety, and archaeologists to work in the best conditions. SILEX'S will have an informative exhibition area, a video projection area and a flint storage area.

The result of committed joint efforts over a number of years between archaeologists and curators, architects and museum designers, the centre will make it possible to protect, benefit from and offer better access to this exceptional archaeological site.

At the site, visitors will be able to enjoy informative routes and walks, and while in the pavilion, stroll about within an area overlooking the archaeological excavations (one of the only active archaeological digs that is accessible to the public in the French Community of Belgium). At the heart of the exhibition is the notion of human ingenuity and mining activity dating back 6400 years. Finally, the descent into a real Neolithic mine, nine metres deep, will be available subject to advance booking and subject to precautions. Special guided tours will also be available for some visitors, including school groups and workshop attendees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) Margaux Stievenart

The budget for the future construction is 1.7 million euros, which is funded 50% by the Walloon Region, 40% by European Convergence funds and 10% by the City of Mons.

In the midst of beautiful greenery, SILEX’S will enable visitors to understand all facets of this internationally renowned archaeological site.

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