flint mine

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A place where natural outcrops or seams of underground flint were worked to obtain blocks of raw material for knapping and making into tools. The mining techniques vary a little between mining areas but mines basically consist of pits or shafts. Pits are generally used where the flint is shallow and relatively large and rather irregular holes can be opened to get it. Shafts involve considerably more effort, and examples more than 15 m deep are known. The shafts themselves are steep‐sided and cylindrical in form, although most originally have had fixtures and fittings to allow the miners to get in and out, and to allow soil and water to be removed. When the desired band of flint is reached it is followed outwards from the shaft as a series of galleries that optimize the extractable flint by leaving only small pillars to support the roof. Most flint mines are of Neolithic date, and examples are known in many parts of Europe, including Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and southern and eastern England.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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