Neolithic flint working sites were discovered in the eastern slope of the river Maas valley, near Maastricht (the Netherlands), in 1881. For over 50 years, the Explorations in this area were chiefly carried out by Belgian investigators, who, in 1914, found the first shafts and mining galleries in the side of a small valley. In 1923-1925, Prof. Dr. van Giff en and Dr. van der Sleen were the first Dutch archaeologists to conduct successful researches. Three hundred metres south of the valley they also found mining galleries. In 1964, Dr. Waterbolk, professor in the Groningen University, uncovered even more shafts, at more than 120 metres in western direction from the van Giffen digs. This established the fact that in neolithic times mining must have been practiced quite intensively. For the subterraneous research into this early mining, twelve members of the Netherlands Geological Association drew up a schema to drive a gallery right across the mining area, from where to penetrate into the prehistoric mines. After continuous working during the weekends for the past five years, the members of the group have now dug a gallery of more than 100 metres. Prehistoric galleries of a total length of 500 metres have been investigated and mapped out. During the work over 8000 flint picks were found, as well as bits of charcoal and a human skull. By means of radio-carbon determination the prehistoric mining could be dated to 3150 (± 60) B.C.E. During the last couple of years the group commands modern technical gear for material haulage, compressed air and electrical lighting. Most members of the group have gained a many years' experience as mining-engineers in the Dutch collieries, so that here mining history is being explored by...miners.

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Grondboor & Hamer

CC BY 3.0 NL ("Naamsvermelding")

Nederlandse Geologische Vereniging

P.J. Felder, & P.C.M. Rademaker. (1971). 5 jaar opgraving van préhistorische vuursteenmijnen te Rijckholt-St. Geertruid. Grondboor & Hamer, 25(3), 38–57.