Flint mines

Possible flint-mine at PitstoneA flint mine is an industrial site where, during Neolithic and Early Bronze Age times, nodules of flint were extracted by hand from underground seams within the Upper Chalk. Flint mines comprise one or more pits or shafts together with associated spoil heaps and working floors. The flint extracted from these mines was used for making a variety of tools and implements, including axes and adzes. Flint mines are mostly known from surface features, notably the roughly circular depressions up to 20m across which mark the mine shafts juxtaposed with the humpy ground caused by overlapping spoilheaps. Flintworking debris, particularly debris from the primary stage of working, may provide clues to the presence of a flint mine.


The distribution of flint mines in England is largely dictated by the extent of the the Upper Chalk which is the geological band in which seams of flint occur. Flint mines are known in most areas where Upper Chalk outcrops from Norfolk in the north to Dorset in the south. Flint mines generally occur on the top of hills or ridges and along the flanking slopes of such hills according to the way the flint is banded within the chalk. There are two possible sites of flint-mines in Buckinghamshire, a very dubious one at Pitstone and and uncertain one south-east of High Wycombe that has since been destroyed.