Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region, Sudół
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Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region

Sudół

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Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region (hereinafter: Krzemionki) is located on the north-eastern part of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, on both sides of the Kamienna River. This serial World Heritage property consists of four component parts: the main mining field Krzemionki Opatowskie, two smaller mining fields – Borownia and Korycizna, and a prehistoric permanent mining settlement called Gawroniec, where the final processing of semi-products of flint tools from the mine took place, which were then distributed. It is one of the largest known complexes of this type in the Neolithic Period. The only currently known most complete and wholly readable socio-technological example of prehistoric flint mining and processing, which illustrates the greatest range of prehistoric flint mining techniques within a single mining area.

In the north-eastern and eastern region of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains there were several types of flint used since the Palaeolithic. In the flint mines, in the period 3900-1600 BC (from Neolithic to the early Bronze Age), a unique mineral was mined – striped flint banded in exceptional zebra-like patterns of alternating shades of grey. After mining and processing the flint into axes or other tools, it was then distributed within a radius of almost 650 km from the complex, which was confirmed by findings in present-day Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.

As a whole, the Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region constitutes the best preserved, most technically diverse and complete prehistoric mining complex. All the elements necessary to confirm the uniqueness of the site are contained in its components, which are an example of the only striped flint deposit exploited in prehistoric times. There were four types of mining units operating in the area of Krzemionki: open-pit mines (the so-called pit mines) consisting of the exploitation of shallow shafts with a depth of up to 3.5 m; niche mines with shafts reaching a depth of up to 4.5 m, at the bottom of which shallow niches were exploited; chamber-pillar and chamber mines with a depth of up to 10 m and the floor area of the largest chambers – up to over 500 m2. Such large mining chambers do not exist anywhere else in the world. Krzemionki region also has an amazingly well-preserved anthropogenic layer, which shows a remarkable prehistoric industrial landscape consisting of shaft depressions and hills made up of mine waste; the remnants of flint processing workshops, workers' settlements and communication routes are visible. The Gawroniec Settlement, on the other hand, which is essential for the functional integrity of the deposit management system, is a clear testimony of the organization of a prehistoric mining community.

Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region was inscribed on the World Heritage list in July 2019 during the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan (dec. 43 COM 8B.29).

The entry was made on the basis of criteria III and IV:

Criterion III 

Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region is illustrative of the living and working patterns of settled prehistoric communities that distinguish the Neolithic period from that which preceded it. The serial property bears witness to the economic and social organisation of segments of the Neolithic society, which were linked to the extraction of flint and its use for the production of polished axes.

The attributes of the property, including the integral Gawroniec Settlement are further enhanced by the proven distribution of striped-flint axes that have been identified in a radius of over 650 kilometers from the complex – the largest recorded range for prehistoric flint axes which act as significant indicators for prehistoric movements.

Criterion IV 

Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region represents an exceptional type of Neolithic mining landscape, bearing witness both to a complex technical and social system and to human adaptation to the conditions of natural resource exploitation that is a landmark in the history of mining. It provides evidence that the prehistoric period brought flint mining to produce tools in the largest known example for the prehistoric exploitation of flint. The serial property illustrates diverse underground prehistoric mining structures comprising open-pit, niche-gallery, gallery, pillar-chamber and chamber mines – and primary workshops, which survive intact in well over 4,000 shafts and pits.

The site is accessible to the public.

Compiled on the basis of materials of the National Heritage Board of Poland, 31-03-2020

 

General information

  • Type: cultural
  • Chronology: 3900 - 1600 p.n.e.
  • Form of protection: UNESCO
  • Address: Sudół
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district ostrowiecki, commune Bodzechów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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