Archaeologists from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń has discovered a chocolate flint mine that dates from 10,000 years ago, located in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland of Poland.
The research is carried out as part of a five-year project, entitled “Chocolate flint in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. Extraction, Use and Distribution ”, financed by the National Science Centre.
Chocolate flint is a type of siliceous rock that occurs in wide belt outcrops of Jurassic formations, used for tool manufacturing due to the hard, brittle, homogeneous structure of the stone.
The quality of chocolate flint was appreciated by prehistoric communities from the Middle Palaeolithic, through the Mesolithic and Neolithic, to the Iron Age, and it was most popular in the late Palaeolithic period (15 to 12 thousand years ago).
It was previously thought that tool manufacturing by Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens in the region sourced chocolate flint from the Świętokrzyskie Mountains some 150 km’s away, but the discovery of deposits in the Udorki Valley in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland has shown that chocolate flint was also sourced locally.
The team’s research, though incomplete, shows that the mine was operated between 10 to 6 thousand years ago. “It is also a surprising discovery, because the vast majority of the mines known to us (including other siliceous raw materials) from the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland and the Świętokrzyskie Mountains come from the Neolithic period, which means they are younger than the new mine discovery” – said Dr. Sudoł-Procyk from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.
It is not known yet whether it was a mine with deep shafts and underground galleries, but it is suggested that prehistoric hunters dug into the valley slope after seeing the flint deposits exposed by the river. Archaeologists propose that after the extraction of the raw materials, it was processed in the immediate vicinity of the mine. Find out more
Header Image Credit : Magdalena Sudol-Procyk