Commune: Bodzechów (pow. ostrowiecki, woj. świętokrzyskie)

Framework element or context represented:
Prehistoric exploitation of flints in Oxfordian limestones of northeastern marginal zone od the Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross) Mts.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
Neolithic mines of flints.

Comparative assessment justification:
One of the largest and best studied complex of prehistoric flint mines in Europe.

Protection status and accessibility:
Archeological (since 1946) and nature (since 1995) reserve “Krzemionki Opatowskie” – very well accessible with museum and underground touristic trail.

Character of site: Ancient mines.

Area: 379 ha

Altitude: 190-205 m a.s.l.

Lithology: other siliceous rocks, limestones

Discipline: Geomorphology, Palaeoenvironment, Petrography, Geology of mineral deposits

Process Age: Neogene, Paleogene, Triassic, Permian, *all periods

Bedrock Age: Jurassic, *all periods

Description of primary interest:
Surface and subsurface remnants of flint mines active 3900-1600 BC, during New Stone Age (culture of funnel-shaped cups, culture of spherical amphorae) and, occasionally, early Bronze Age (Mierzanowice culture). Parabolic exploitation field 5 km long and 25-200 m wide covers outcrop and near-outcrop zone (up to depth 9-10 m) of two horizons of banded (light grey-dark grey) flint concretions: nodular, elipsoidal and discoidal forms up to 1 m in diameter and ca 0.1 m wide. The horizons occur (in distance 2.5-3 m each from other) in the Upper Oxfordian pelithic and oolithic limestones of Magonie-Folwarczysko Trough. The lower horizon (ca. 1 m thick) consists of some subhorizons. Shape of the minefield is controlled by structure of the trough striking NW-SE (with axis plunged to SE) and asymmetric (N limb dips 35-40º to NE and S limb – 7-10º to SW). The field consists of remnants of ca. 5000 mines representing 4 types: a) pit mines built in the weathered limestones and less than 3.5 m deep; b) niche mines with niches in the bottom parts of the shafts up to 4.3 m deep; c) chamber-pillars mines with chamber and galleries (0.6-1.1 m high) expanding 5-7 m from the shafts, 5.5-6 m deep; d) chamber mines characterized by chambers extension up to 15 m and depth up to 8.5 m. In the both deeper types of mines, situated in the internal zone of central and northern section of the exploitation field only the upper horizon was excavated, whereas pit and niche mines located in the external zone of the field reached upper and lower horizons. Scientific studies of the prehistoric mines are performed using modern archaeological, geological and geophysical methods.


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