les minières néolithiques de spiennes

 

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  • The Spiennes site

    The men who started to dig mines in Spiennes, some 6 000 years ago, are regarded as the oldest miners in the world. They had just discovered a profuse deposit of quality, which was to be exploited for more than 1 800 years. In total, around one hundred hectares were to be exploited and thousands of shafts were to be bored.

    Step by step, mines have replaced pits, from 8 to 11 metres deep. The flint layers are extracted by digging short galleries, from 2 to 5 metres long, which go off from the shaft that gives access to the mines. A mining site, which is 16 metres in depth , has even been discovered to a place called "Camp-à-Cayaux". Large pieces of flint, of around two metres long, have been extracted there with a special technique called "foudroyage".

    The Neolithic mines in Spiennes clearly show, as it is the case with others monuments registered in the UNESCO List, the human beings’ inventiveness. The archaeological potential of the site is considered as a fund of knowledge for the coming generations and is worth protecting for these ones.

    The visit

    "... Right now, we’re going down in the mines". And a guide of ours in Petit-Spiennes will reveal how to reach a mine. You’re sure to shudder as you lean toward the ladder which is 8 metres in depth but, unfortunately for you, it is the only way possible to get to this treasure left by prehistory...

    Arrived at the bottom of the ladder, you’ll find yourself in an "out of time space". You are seized with an amazing feeling, something you’ve never felt before, your thoughts wander and you feel like discovering the place where you are. The site our guides would like you to visit is not a cave, but flint mines dug by our ancestors, by means of flint picks and red deer antlers.

    You don’t visit one single mine but half a dozen of mines which fit in in a way you might consider as a bit incoherent. This small labyrinth leads you to a depth of 10 metres thanks to short galleries - which are also generally low and narrow.

    The mines in Petit-Spiennes are not just an underpass rooted in the past. The mining techniques used by our ancestors seem quite fresh, the marks left by the picks in the chalk seem so recent that one can believe them to have been made a little time ago.

    Petit Spiennes en 2010
    Petit-Spiennes site in 2010
    © Jean-Louis Dubois
    Click to enlarge the picture

    Opening times

    Unfortunately, the mines of Spiennes are now closed to the public (even the first sunday of the month) until end 2014. This closure is due to the work being executed to build a totally new visitor center. See you for the opening ! More details about the Pavillon d’accueil (in french).
    • Without appointment: From March to November, on the first Sunday of each month, from 10 to 16 o’clock. (On Sunday, 7 Sep 2014, 5 Oct 2014, 2 Nov 2014, 1 Mar 2015, 5 Apr 2015, 3 May 2015)
    • Unfortunately, due to the works currently being done in Petit-Spiennes, it is not possible for us to welcome visitors outside of the public openings organized every first sunday of the month.
      or groups from 12 persons : All the year round, by appointment only. The access price per person is the same as below (2,5€) but it must be paid for a minimum of 12 persons, even if the group is smaller than 12 visitors. Mail to :
      or call +32 (0)65 35 34 78.
    • If you want to have a visit in english, please send us an short email to this email address : .

    Price list

    Adults : 2.5 €
    Children : 12 years old ( accompanied by the parents) : 1.25 €

    Practical Aspects

    The temperature in the mines is constant : from 8° to 10°C. So please, do wear appropriate clothes. Don’t forget to take rainwear with you, as shaft as walking or sports shoes, and a pair of trousers.
    The visit includes a descent in the mines, by means of a vertical ladder of 8 metres high.
    Children have to be at least 12 years old to go down in the mines.
    Do not forget to take your printed access map with you ! This access map is hardly needed to arrive in Petit-Spiennes. The GPS propose an itinerary, and sometimes it leaves you far from the mines. Follow the indications found in the PDF above. If you want to use your GPS anyway, follow the directions "BINCHE" then "BEAUMONT" to go to Spiennes. The address is rue du Point du Jour, s/n. 7032 SPIENNES (MONS)


    How can you reach the site ?

    • With a car :
      Geographical situation of Spiennes in Belgium :

      Road maps and itinerary :
      Google maps localisation
      General map, from Mons and
      The same general access map to print (PDF)
    • With public transports : on Sunday, bus . Take the bus line 134 / direction MONS-GIVRY-ERQUELINNES-BEAUMONT. Get off in Spiennes - route de Spiennes. For details concerning the timetables consult the TEC website (Caution - 18JUL07 - it seems there are very few buses between Mons and Spiennes during the week-end)