De Prehistorische vuursteenmijnbouw te Rijckholt-St. Geertruid
Grondboor & Hamer , Volume 21 - Issue 5 p. 140- 148
Neolithic flint-mines in the Netherlands. In 1881 flint-working sites were discovered in the south of the Netherlands in the neighbourhood of Maastricht near the belgium border. Specially belgium scientist from the university of Liège did a lot of field-work in this site during more than 50 years. In 1914 the first shafts and mining galleries were found in the wall of a small ravine. During 1923 - 1925, Dr. v. Giffen and Dr. v.d. Sleen were the first archeologists of dutch origin who did some succesfull excavations. In 1964 Prof. Dr. Waterbolk from the archeological division of the Groningen University discovered a couple of shafts more than 120 m from te former flint-mines. So he proved a very extended mining-activity in neolithic times. At that moment, twelve members of the Netherlands Geological Association made a plan to continue the discoveries by digging a gallery from the first discovered flint-mines up to the new shaft-field. This gallery will have a total length of 100 m. At both sides 10 m of the chalk-rock could be explored. Working in the week-ends, during more than 3 years, the members of the group made a gallery of already 60 m and penetrated in the prehistorical flintmines. They have dug out more than 300 m of ancient galleries and discovered about 20 shafts. They got a very deep insight in the technical mining system (pillar and room) of the neolithic miners and found more than 3000 flint-picks, charcoal and a human skull. A radio-carbon determination of the charcoal dated the prehistorical mining-activities at 3150 ( ± 60) before Christ. During three years of excavations the way of working was modernised. Started with barrows, changing over to lorries, they now use a bell-conveyer. Instead of steel-picks, there is a compressor and the working site is lighted by electric lamps. A lot of work is done, and has still to be done by the members of the group. They proved that the neolithic flint-mining industry in the Netherlands is of the same rank as Spiennes in Belgium and other well-known nelothic mines in Europe.
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