Neolithic settlement at Marais de Saint-Gond: The recently discovered Neolithic settlement at Marais de Saint-Gond in northeast France has drawn significant attention from archaeologists due to its uniqueness and the valuable insights it provides into life 3,500 years ago. This vast site, uncovered by researchers from France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), has been a subject of interest since flints were initially found there 150 years ago.
Archaeologists have made remarkable discoveries at the site, including the remains of the ancient settlement itself, 15 flint mines spread across 450 hectares (1,112 acres), 135 underground chambers known as hypogeum, five stone alleyways, wells, and polishers for axes. These findings shed light on the economic, societal, and territorial organization of the Neolithic period, providing valuable clues about the way people lived during that time.
According to Remi Martineau, a researcher from CNRS, this Neolithic settlement is unparalleled in Europe, making it an exceptionally rare and significant find. The site’s well-structured nature indicates the foundations of early society, offering valuable insights into the social structures and organization of the time.
Among the discoveries at the site, archaeologists found a small oval object made of nacre, also known as mother of pearl. This object, which resembles an ancestor of a button, is pierced with two holes in the center and has been dated to approximately 3,400 to 3,300 years ago. Its remarkable preservation suggests that there may be more intact objects and structures yet to be unearthed at the site.
The excavation and research project at Marais de Saint-Gond involved a team of 50 people from France and abroad, including archaeology students and 20 excavators. The work on the site has been ongoing for the past 20 years, with the aim of uncovering the secrets of this ancient Neolithic village.
The Neolithic period, also referred to as the New Stone Age, marked the transition from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to settled agricultural communities. During this time, villages emerged, and societies became more structured, with the presence of temples, priests, and influential leaders. The discovery of this unique Neolithic settlement adds to our understanding of this transformative period in human history.