UNESCO World Heritage site: the Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes


Located on two chalk plateaux near Mons, on the surface the mines look like a vast expanse of meadows and fields strewn with millions of pieces of worked flint. Underground, the site is a huge network of galleries connected to the surface by vertical shafts dug by Neolithic populations.

The site appears to be one of the largest and earliest mining extraction centres in north-west Europe. These galleries were in operation for many centuries and the remains that can still be seen today illustrate the development and adaptation of the flint extraction techniques used by prehistoric populations.

The many fragments of flint still visible on the surface are evidence of the carving workshops that existed near the extraction wells.The main purpose of this production was the manufacture of axes for cutting down trees and long blades that were transformed into tools. The standardisation of the production testifies to the high level of craftsmanship of the Spiennes flint cutters. The remains of a fortified camp comprising two irregular concentric pits five to ten metres away were also found on the site.