The flint factory was discovered in 1970 by Dr Michel Malenfant. It was covered by a heap of stones dumped there by generations of farmers as they cleared their fields. These stones protected the site, leaving it exactly as it had been abandoned 4,500 years ago. The area was cleared and excavated, and found to be a site where long flint blades were produced. It was used for 300 years in the Neolithic period, between 4,700 and 4,300 years ago.
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These Neolithic flint knappers were looking for high quality deposits with large nodules. They concentrated their search on the richest outcrops in the hamlet of Hâle. There they set up camp for several months each year, digging out pits and gathering large flint nodules which they trimmed on the spot. The resulting rough cores were taken nearby and blades 18 to 25 cm long were struck from them.
This shows that the site was used by experienced knappers who came up to the Vercors plateau at regular intervals. It’s quite possible that they had been trained at the site at Grand-Pressigny (South of Tours) and, coming up in the summer months, they used the so-called ‘Pressigny’ technique on local flint. These long blades were then used as weapons, tools and, above all, as prestige objects that could be exchanged.
In 1978 the Museum of the Prehistory of the Vercors was established to preserve this unique site, the only Pressignien flint factory in Europe in such a good state of preservation. In 1983 it was classed as a national historic monument.