Maastricht during prehistoric times

The oldest traces of human life in the Netherlands were found in Maastricht, in the Belvédère loess quarry near Caberg. A temporary hunter’s encampment dating back around 250,000 years has been uncovered here.

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The Linear Pottery People

The first permanent inhabitants are known to have lived here around 7,000 years ago. Instead of hunting, gathering and migrating with the seasons, they chose a farmer’s existence, working the land in a permanent location. We refer to the culture these settlers brought with them from the east as Linear Pottery Culture.

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The Michelsberg culture

After the Linear Pottery people left these areas for various reasons, the farmers of the Michelsberg culture replaced them several hundred years later. Whilst much is still unclear about them, the important Vogelzang site in Randwyck may be able to shed some light on these people and their culture.

Flint mining

At around the same time, the oldest large-scale flint tool industry in the Netherlands emerged in Rijckholt-Sint Geertruid, near Maastricht. This marked the first time flint was mined underground on a large scale, a risky undertaking in those days. The labourers worked in very narrow, hand-hewn passages, bringing up large lumps of flint that were then worked, traded and bartered.

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Arrival of metal

The trade in flint must have been very lucrative for the area. All this changed with the arrival of a new material: metal. Initially, this was bronze and then later iron, and these raw materials were worked here, producing spectacular objects.