Poland’s prehistoric mining region inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

Krzemionki Opatowskie, a unique prehistoric flint mining region in southern Poland, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the organisation announced on Saturday.

“The UNESCO committee recognised the unique value of the region. It is a testament to the work of human genius (...) and an outstanding example of a set of technical and landscape features which depict a significant stage in the history of mankind,” the statement issued by Poland’s culture ministry reads.

The banded flint mining complex in Krzemionki was exploited between 3000 and 1600 BC. The area, located in southern Poland in the Świętokrzyskie region, covers over four square kilometres.

It features more than 4,000 mine shafts with depths exceeding nine meters. Some of the passages are covered in rare Neolithic illustrations.

Discovered in 1992 by a local geologist, the Krzemionki mines are one of the largest known complexes of prehistoric flint mines in Europe.

The banded flint obtained there is some of the rarest in the world. Products from Krzemionki have been discovered across the whole of Central Europe, from modern Lithuania to the Czech Republic and from Germany to today's Ukraine. They were used both as jewellery and weapons, such as axe blades.

The Krzemionki mines are Poland’s 16th entry on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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