Blog - Beyond 2000 BC

Exploring Grimes Graves

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I've been back at Grimes Graves today, this is where I grew up as a child, the site is recognised as being the most important neolithic flint mine in the world as it has such a large group of closely grouped mine shafts numbering up approximately 430 bell style shafts and its one of only a handfull of flint mines in the UK.
While i was here today I have been exploring new spaces in the Cannon Greenwells pit, I hadn't seen these 3 wonderful antlers before today and they are laid right where they were placed 4000 years ago. these were recorded in the excavation over 40 years ago but its special to me as they still have the fingerprints on of the person who left them there such a long time ago.
This is a plan of the mine with all the antlers laid where they can still be seen today.

The pit is also very important to Grimes Graves as it is the only mine that hasnt had members of the public in since it was excavated in 1970 and as such all the mining tool marks are still fresh on the walls today, it really feels like the neolithic miners have only just left.



During my visit I also had the pleasure of viewing the remaining flint floorstone left behind by the miners, some of this was left for structural safety or just because it was poor quality, but in the main this was the high quality material that they were after to make tools from.

During my visits to Grimes Graves I often see some very magical moments, one of these special occasions is the rising of the mists, they arise from the lower part of the landscape and roll in over the site looking much like they are escorting the ancient ancestors home.

Or it may be a glimmer of a large grass snake, adder or interesting and poisous six spotted burnet moth 

The flint tools found at Grimes Graves were general purpose every day items that were disposed of after use but the really good axes were ground and traded, however its interesting to note that the polished axes were also used to mine the flint from the chalk and the marks are left as scars througout the tunnels in the mine.

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  1. Peter Fishlock

    I had the tremendous pleasure of exploring these mines, with Will, it was a truly unforgettable experience. Thanks Will!!!!

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