Krzemionki – mine and neolithic settlement

History

   The flint mines in Krzemionki Opatowskie were exploited in the years of 3900-1600 BC and belonged to one of the most important in Europe. In neolithic the mineral was mined by the population of the Funnelbeaker Culture and the Globular Amphora Culture, and in the Bronze Age by the population of the Mierzanowice culture, whose economy was no longer based on hunting and gathering, but on farming and animal husbandry. The ability to process flint and stone became more and more important as tools and weapons were made of them. The increased demand for flint resulted in the necessity of extracting its larger quantities from the main limestone or chalk rock. This is how the mines of this raw material were created, reaching from a depth of few to several meters and huge mining fields. Part of the flint excavated here was processed in nearby settlements and later spread over a distance of 660 km. After a period of neolithic exploitation, the areas of Krzemionki overgrown with forest for a long time, thanks to which the traces of prehistory were not destroyed. It was not until 1913 that the village of Krzemionki was established, the forests were uprooted and then the mines discovered.

Architecture

   In the area of Krzemionki, there are about 4,000 mines, representing the majority of the prehistoric techniques of obtaining flint. There are four types of mining facilities, which differ in depth and the way mining works were carried out. These are pit, niche, pillar and chamber mines. The largest and most complex chamber mines reached a depth of up to 9 m and an area of several hundred square meters. The height of underground tunnels was in the range of 55-120 cm.

Current state

   In the Krzemionki archaeological park you can see the neolithic mine of flint and the reconstruction of the neolithic settlement. Although it is not an accurate reproduction of any of the known archaeological sites, but watching it you can imagine how the people of the Stone Age and the early Bronze Age organized the space they inhabited. The village consists of a reconstruction of four residential houses built on the basis of documentation from archaeological research in Dobroń, Siciny and Brzezie. They are surrounded by a palisade and a defense ditch, as well as some known neolithic settlements (for exemple Stryczowice, Bronocice, Złota).
  
The tourist route of the neolithic mine is about 1.5 km long and presents the original excavations of neolithic mines, mine heaps and pits. The underground route is almost 500 meters long and reaches 11,5 meters in the deepest spot. It allows you to see both well-preserved excavations of prehistoric mines of striped flint, as well as to get acquainted with the geology of the region. The museum is open every day in April and October from 9.00 to 17.00, from November to March at 8.00 to 16.00, from May to September from 9.00 to 19.00.

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bibliography:
Website krzemionki.pl, Rekonstrukcja osady.
Website wikipedia.org, Krzemionki.