Two weeks ago on the same day, a Tuesday, I had a unique opportunity to help with some research in the prehistoric flint mines in Rijckholt, Maastricht. Two researchers from the University of Vienna were present for a full day in the mines in Rijckholt. These mines are 6000 years old. Normally you only see pictures of me from quarries were the main raw material was limestone, also called marl by the locals but the flint got thrown away. In the prehistoric time, they had flint as main as material and the marl got thrown somewhere else.
The goal of the researchers from Vienna is to try and create a sort of DNA for flint. They want to be able to tell where a certain artifact comes from and that’s why those researchers are traveling the globe to take samples of the flint where necessary.
We started the day where we usually start our guided tours, in the parking lot. We started the day with a walk to the mines.
Once at the entrance of the mine, we got an introduction of what to expect and do.
Before lunch, I helped with checking the map for correctness. After lunch, I focused on documenting the day and the mines themselves.
Lunch was provided and delicious after already half of a day of hard work.
We also got further explanation of the research and why we were doing what we were doing.
There were three groups, each of the groups had their own research topic and responsibilities. I was part of the group that was going to get into the mines, document the mine with photos and check the map for correctness. The mines itself are not always open, while the main corridor is, so this was a unique opportunity to crawl into those little galleries and corridors.
The main corridor
It was hard working, photographing in such a small space but it was worth it. It’s part of the experience and very useful for the future guided tours.
There is some more press information sadly only in Dutch:
If you want to know more about it, come and check the guided tours we organize on Wednesday evenings. You can book over here: https://www.vvvzuidlimburg.nl/te-doen-in-zuid-limburg/rondleidingen-excursies-workshops/detail/prehistorische-vuursteenmijn-rijckholt/8140/