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Flint Mines and Workshops Project – Belarus

November 29, 2007

Flint Mines

Krasnoselsk flint mines of Western Belarus are unique for Central and Eastern Europe, as the flint nodules they contain are found in very pure, white, soft chalk layers. The mines have been systematically exploited from the Early Neolithic, Bronze, and up to the Iron Age. The mines are structured around vertical core shafts, generally 2.5-3 m deep.Their walls are covered in marks left by the deer and moose horn picks initially used for flint extraction. Out of the 600 mines initially discovered, only about 140 remain. They are now under the protection of the Ministry of Culture of Belarus.

PotDue to the quality and quantity of easily accessible flint nodules, the surrounding region has been continuously occupied throughout Prehistoric times by various cultures with different mining techniques. In the early Neolithic flint was extracted by digging trenches all the way down to the flint layers. During the Late Neolithic, shaft mining became the principal method of flint extraction. Flint

A necropolis dating to the end of the third millennium B.C. was located in the area. Human remains deposited in one of the mines along with a rich inventory of tools suggest possible reuse of abandoned mines as burials.

Numerous workshops were also found on the outskirts of the chalk deposits. The shops manufactured various high quality tools, of which the polished flint axes stand out the most, as examples were discovered as far as Lithuania and Poland. Seasonal work settlements have been located near the mines, while shores of the Ros river show distinct features of permanent occupation.

VOLUNTEER
The 2008 season will focus on excavating several shafts and workshops for the purpose of further exploring the relationships between the mining and the manufacturing Prehistoric industries. Mapping and surveying of unexplored mines and workshops outside the Archaeological Reserve will also be undertaken.

Dates: 31 July – 22 August

 (apply as early as possible as places are taken up quickly)

Website:  http://www.archaeotek.org/flint_mines_and_workshops/

Cost: 295 Euro (335 US dollars) – you need to pay for flight, visa etc

 

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