During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome!

About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of  a Medical Department at a German University.

Copyright  2010-2016 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.

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About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome!

About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University.

Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.

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20 Responses to About

  1. Brendan says:

    I simply wanted to thank you for the time you have committed to providing a frequently updated blog based on stone tool technology. As as undergraduate in Archaeology, I appreciate this procrastination medium!

    Many thanks and best wishes,
    -Brendan, Canada

  2. Mike Cope says:

    Thanks for an interesting website. I do feel that you are under-representing Southern Africa, perhaps because the Northern stone age has been studied and excavated in much more detail. Archaeology is after all a Northern invention.

    Are you aware of Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa? In the cave’s stratigraphy there is a complete succession of hearths and artifacts from the (arguably) Oldovan to 100 years ago. Datings are coming in and are in many cases surprisingly precocious (eg prepared core tools from over 1MYA.) There are two papers due, one in Current Anthropology by Peter Beaumont, and another in Nature by Michael Chazan which will throw very interesting light on the evolution of stone tool making. And there’s a hearth there that’s right at bedrock.

  3. Katzman says:

    Thanks for your comments. It is interesting, that I tried for years to get solid informations about Wonderwork and did not find any peer-reviewed article in the web. If these informations are available, I would be happy for the pdfs. Overall I do not feel that (South)-Africa is underrepresented in my blog (try MSA or handaxe as a keyword)- but I am fully aware, that my view is biased by some Eurocenriticity.

  4. Mike Cope says:

    Yeah, well, you guys get excited about a site with a couple of dozen handaxes and a few cleavers. Have a stroll over Kathu Townlands (near Kathu in the Northern Cape) and you will be walking over innumerable lithic artifacts, perhaps as many as 20 billion. At nearby Canteen Koppie, there are perhaps mere hundreds of millions, enough to build a museum out of the axes, and in fact some of the big ones have been stood up and whitewashed as trail markers. (The biggies are up to 7kg). And have a look at this exceptional hand axe: http://jmanley.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/south-africa-2010-jonathan-manley-037.jpg which is at least 600 ky old from Kathu Pan. All within 50km of Wonderwerk. In terms of numbers and technique, the Northern Cape seems to have been an important place for the evolution of all these techniques.

    The Peter Beaumont paper on Wonderwerk is now out in Current Anthropology, so you can get it if you’re linked into Jstor. Something the paper doesn’t mention is specularite and incised ochre that appear to be significantly older than Blombos Cave.

  5. Katzman says:

    Really excellent picture Mike! Unfortunately I have no access to CA, because my University decided to unsuscribe the journal after 2010. I newer really understood why…
    I read about Canteen Koppie in the wonderful book “Axe Age”. I just do not know how to take the time to stroll around there, but it would certanly a nice trip.

  6. Maju says:

    You probably know already about this but a month ago an open access paper was published on Wonderwerk cave precisely, being surely a key paper on the use of fire by Homo sp. Just in case, here there is a link:


  7. Katzman says:

    Thanks a lot, I only read the paper from CA recently published, which gave more questions than answers to the problems of stratigraphy in WWC….

  8. dermot says:

    Hi, thanks for your interesting posts.

    I have an interesting hand tool from Isimila, collected when I was a kid. I believe it is two sided, a small hand axe and a scraper, as demonstrated here


    What I find fascinating (apart from connecting directly to our ancestors by putting my fingers where they did) is that this tool seems to use the same grip for both ends. You just slide your hand up and down the tool to change ends, meaning that you only need one set of finger grips and grooves. Nice design, if this is true!

    regards – Dermot

  9. Thomas says:

    Have Aterian spear points ever been found in Central Europe? I think I may have found a very asymmetrical one with a short tang near Brno in the Czech Republic. A lithics specialist at the Brno Anthropological Museum who kept it for a week did not say that, but he did say that what I found is between 45,000 and 135,000 years old. Pictures available upon request.

  10. Katzman says:

    Indeed Aterian points (that means points with a specific tang made by a Levallois chaine operatoire)are restricted in time and space to the Maghreb. I remember a rare example of a tanged Mousterian point from France, dispayed in F. Bordes “Typologie du paléolithique ancien et moyen”. 30 years ago I found a tanged point from the Middle Paleolithic at Lenderscheid (Hesse, Germany), very similar to an Aterian point-for sure a convergence phenomenon. Would be happy to see your example (mail: jmeller@web.de).

  11. Breann Hall says:

    I’m fascinated by your posts, particularly those regarding flint artifacts. I’m an anthropology student from California planning a trip to Les Eyzies next June (my graduation present to myself.)
    You seem incredibly familiar with the Vezere Valley excavations and I’m eagerly awaiting additional posts regarding that area and particularly the Paleolithic/megalithic economy. I’ve found research to support many of the finer pieces originate from a single mine several miles from the area.
    I really enjoy this blog, keep up the good work!

  12. Hello
    I am a french amateur in archéology and prehistory.
    My friend Serge Roustide give me your adress and tell me a great admiration on your work.
    So I hope to be informed of your articles when they appear, if possible

  13. Dear Katzman,

    I started reading your blog posts a couple of years ago and have now become a keen follower. Your blog has revived my old interest in stone age tools which had faded in my late twenties because other things in my life took centre stage. It has also inspired me to start my own blog about artifacts from my own collection (under pseudonym Arne Saknussemm) where I regularly refer to your site. Are you on twitter at all?

    I really enjoy your posts, keep ’em coming!

  14. Wunderbare Seite! Wir würden Sie gern einladen, auf unserem Blog einen kleinen Gastbeitrag zu verfassen

  15. Katzman says:

    Interessantes Projekt- welches Thema schwebt Ihnen denn so vor?

  16. Hans lemmen says:

    Geehrter Katzman,

    Ich war froh und überrascht eine so interessante an mein favorites Tema gewittmetes Blog zu finden.

    Obwohl ich früher oft daran gedacht habe Archeologe zu werden, führte mich mein Weg zur Kunst. Allerdings oft relatiert an Archeologie. In mein Project “Lithomania” , 2001, verwendete ich meine Obsession als Kind um einmal eine Handax finden zu dürfen. In archeologische Museen zeigte ich die beibehörendem riesigen Faustkeile aus Kristal geschlagen. Die Archeologie führte mich in interessante Orte, wie im Libischen Mezzan, und zu interessanten Leute. Über die Verbinding Archeologie und Kunst gebe ich manchmal Lesungen. Das Buch “Lithomania” , mit Zeichnungen und Photo’s wurde auch in Deutsch übersetzt. Wenn Sie wollen, kann ich Sie eins schicken.

    Herzliche Grüsse, Hans Lemmen (Venl0, Niederlande ,1959).
    Nb deutsch ist nicht meine Muttersprache, entschüldigen Sie für sie Fehler.

  17. Katzman says:

    Ich freue mich über solche Querverbindungen. Natürlich würde ich gerne eins Ihrer Bücher in Händen halten!

    Johannes Meller
    Grillparzerstrasse 16
    34125 Kassel

  18. Hank Beelenkamp says:

    Dear Mr Katzman,

    Please, send me the updates to my emailadres


  19. Keith Michael Fiels says:

    Dear J. L.:
    As an American with an interest in the Paleolithic period, I have become a huge devotee of your outstanding site.

    I do have a question which is probably naïf: Can you cite an article or chart that provides an overview of the OIS sequence and chronology and how it realtes to other terms such as Wurm and KMG? I have not had much luck with Wikipedia on this front. I’m probably missing something elementary, but would appreciate any guidance.

    Again, thank you for your outstanding scholarship and site.


  20. Katzman says:

    It is notorious difficult to link local sequences, older than “Eem” (OIS5e) to the Oxygen isotope curve. For example: it is discussed if Bilzingsleben should be assigned to OIS 11 or 9 and the same holds true for Schöningen. Does “Holstein” refer to OIS 11 or 9 or only to a part of OIS11?
    Linking local stratigraphy and OIS curves without absolute dates for the stratigraphy are not meaningful in most of the cases. Rather, it is more useful to date sites and stratigraphies absolutely by multiple methods and link their stratigraphy directly to the to the Oxygen isotope curve.
    If you look for the last glaciation: there are a lot of papers from central Europe and Northern France convincingly link local loess sequences of OIS3-2 to the OIS curve (mainly from Moravia and Austria)

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