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Masterpiece since 2000

Listed by UNESCO in 2000, the Spiennes archaeological site is one of the oldest and largest centres for the extraction of flint in Europe.

Three criteria were cited by UNESCO. Firstly, the Neolithic mines of Spiennes show exceptional inventiveness and ingenuity in people of this period. Next, the site clearly illustrates the advent of Neolithic cultures which marked a major stage in the cultural and technological evolution of mankind. Finally, the site is considered a remarkable example of technology and flint extraction of this period.

 

Digging mine shafts to as much as 16 metres in depth, Neolithic man invented techniques to extract large slabs of flint, in some cases weighing hundreds of kilos. He also developed techniques for cutting the flint, which are now recognised as early evidence of human ingenuity.

 

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