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    A prehistoric chocolate flint mine was discovered in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland

    In the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland archaeologists have discovered a chocolate flint mine which is up to 10 thousand years old. As stressed by the head of the research, Magdalena Sudoł-Procyk, PhD, it is the furthest south-western object of this type in Poland.

    Earlier it was thought that although Neanderthals and later Homo sapiens who inhabited the area used tools made of chocolate flint, they did not extract it locally but transported it from the Świętokrzyskie Mountains (Holy Cross Mountains) 150 km away.


    “The Vistula River basin is rich in deposits of several types of silica raw materials that were used in prehistoric times. Among them, chocolate flint – was one of the best qualities: hard, brittle, and of uniform structure, which is why it was good for making tools. It has many varieties – from light brown (milk chocolate) to dark brown (like dark chocolate)” – mentioned archaeologist Dr Sudoł-Procyk from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.


    As she pointed out, the quality of chocolate flint was appreciated by prehistoric communities as early as the Middle Palaeolithic, through the Mesolithic and Neolithic, up to the Iron Age (i.e., from about 250 000 years ago to the turn of the Era), and was most popular in the Late Palaeolithic period (15-12 thousand years ago).


    The team’s research, while still incomplete, suggests that the mine itself was in operation between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago.


    “It’s also a surprising discovery because the vast majority of mines we know (including other silica raw materials) from the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland and the Świętokrzyskie Mountains date from the Neolithic period, which means they are younger than this one,” said Dr Sudoł-Procyk.


    Archaeologists also have evidence that the raw material after extraction was initially processed near the mine, and only later brought outside the site, among other things, for exchange.


    The team of researchers recently completed fieldwork, during which many samples were collected for analysis in laboratories, which they will work on for the next few months. The archaeologists plan to return to the site again next season for more fieldwork.


    The research is conducted within a five-year project entitled “Chocolate Flint on the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. Mining, Use, and Distribution”, funded by the National Science Center.

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