This Neolithic flint tool set was collected from a world famous Neolithic Period site. It comes from the Michelsberg Culture of the Middle Neolithic Period. The Neolithic flint mines in Spiennes, Belgium have been considered so important to our world history that UNESCO inscribed the large prehistoric community and mine network there in the year 2000. This beautiful tool set was made from flint mined at the site and subsequently knapped into a tool by the inhabitants of the Michelsberg Culture. An excellent specimen collection from an important part of human history and from a prominent Neolithic site.
This excellent Spiennes flint Neolithic set contains not one but TWO tranchet axes, along with an extremely large unifacial scraper. With the fields still being farmed and plowed each year, complete tools are rare and most of what we have seen for sale and collected over the years at this site are incomplete and broken by the plow. ALL THREE OF THESE TOOLS IN THIS SET ARE COMPLETE, UNBROKEN EXAMPLES! Tranchet axes in COMPLETE form are rather uncommon and yet, this set includes TWO! The large unifacial scraper has original outer cortex on one side and is also unusually large compared to what is typically found there. Whether for teaching or to add to a collection, these are SPECTACULAR tools of the finest examples in the European Neolithic Culture.
The Michelsberg Culture came from the Rhineland and Northern France between 6000 and 4800 years ago. These Neolithic farming peoples settled in parts of Belgium and the Netherlands. The name MICHELSBERG came from a site with a ceremonial enclosure discovered in the Rhine Valley and accompanied by a unique assemblage of settlement sites and material. The pottery of this culture is largely undecorated. The stone tools include very large examples (macrolithic) and polished flint axes. Around 6300 years ago, the Michelsberg Culture introduces extensive deep mining of flint and flint production expands to almost an "industrial" scale. This can be seen at the famous flint mines at Spiennes, Belgium.
The declaration in the year 2000 by UNESCO protecting the Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes was highlighted by three main criteria as quoted: "1) The Neolithic mines at Spiennes provide exceptional testimony to early human inventiveness and application, 2) The arrival of Neolithic cultures marked a major milestone in human cultural and technological development, which is vividly illustrated by the vast complex of ancient flint mines at Spiennes. 3) The flint mines at Spiennes are outstanding examples of Neolithic mining of flint, which marked a seminal stage of human technological and cultural progress."
These mines cover more than 250 acres and represent the largest and earliest concentration of ancient mines in Europe! A large diversity of methods were employed to extract the flint by open quarries, pits and networks of underground horizontal galleries. Vertical tunnels range from 30 to 40 feet deep. Shafts were sunk through the chalk layer vertically with galleries radiating out from the shafts. Unique to Spiennes, when the flint was exhausted above the bedrock, the rock layer was penetrated to reach the chalk layer below. This feature shows the mastery these Neolithic humans had of their local geology!
Mines were dug with only the aid of antler picks and bone shovels demonstrating an incredible feat based on the expansiveness of the site. Despite the miners' knowledge to leave pillars in the horizontal galleries for roof support, skeletons of workers have been found in collapsed shafts at Spiennes.
Flint tools from the mining site at Spiennes represent an icon of Neolithic technology, trade and culture. Every collection should have at least one tool from this official 'world-class' site.