Wonderwerk Cave - South Africa


Wonderwerk Cave is the a massive cave in the Kuruman Hills of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. In collaboration with the McGregor Museum and an international team of researchers, Michael Chazan has been exploring the unique prehistoric record of this site based on the material from excavations carried out by Peter Beaumont. Research to date has established a chronology for human occupation of the front of the cave stretching back 2 million years.  Along with the work at Wonderwerk Cave a series of field projects are under way at the rich Earlier Stone Age sites around the town of Kathu.






Project Directors


Professor Michael Chazan

Department of Anthropology



Liora Kolska Horwitz, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Francesco Berna, Simon Fraser University (Wonderwerk)

Steven James Walker, University of Cape Town (Kathu Complex)


Project Website:  www.wonderwerkcave.com





Finding an Old Flame.  Beebe Bahrami, Pennsylvania Gazette  2014.





In Press. Chazan. M. The Lithic Sequence from Wonderwerk Cave, Excavations 1 and 2.  Proceedings of the 2010 joint meeting of the Panafrican Archaeological Congress and the Society of Africanist Archaeologists, Dakar, Senegal..


In Press. Horwitz, L.K. and M. Chazan. An Overview of Recent Research at Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Proceedings of the 2010 joint meeting of the Panafrican Archaeological Congress and the Society of Africanist Archaeologists, Dakar, Senegal.  November 2-4, 2010.


2014 Walker, S. J., Lukich, V., & Chazan, M. Kathu Townlands: A High Density Earlier Stone Age Locality in the Interior of South Africa. PloS one, 9(7), e103436.


2014   Riddle, Andrew TR, and Michael Chazan. "Stone tools from the inside out: radial point distribution." World Archaeology ahead-of-print: 1-14.


2013.  Chazan, M., N. Porat, A. Sumner, L.K. Horwitz.  The use of OSL dating in unstructured sands: The archaeology and chronology of the Hutton Sands at Canteen Kopje (Northern Cape Province, South Africa).  Anthropological and Archaeological Sciences. 5: 351-363.


2012.  Chazan, M., Avery, M.D., Bamford, M.K., Berna, F., Brink, J., Fernandez-Jalvo, Y., Goldberg, P., Matmon, A., Porat, N., Ron, H., Rossouw, L., Scott, L., Horwitz, L.K.

Oldowan Occupation at Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa: Archaeology, Geology, Paleontology, and Paleoclimate.  Journal of Human Evolution 63: 859-866.


2012. Chazan, M. Handaxes, Concepts, and Teaching. Mind, Brain, and Education, 6(4): 197-203.

2012. Wilkins, J., Schoville, B. J., Brown, K. S., Chazan, M. Evidence for Early Hafted Hunting Technology. Science, 338(6109): 942-946.


2012. Chazan, M., J. Wilkins, D. Morris, and F. Berna.  Bestwood 1: a newly discovered Earlier Stone Age living surface near Kathu, Northern Cape Province, South Africa.  Antiquity 86(331): Antiquity Gallery.


2012.  Berna, F., P. Goldberg, L.K. Horwitz, J. Brink, S. Holt, M. Bamford, and M. Chazan.  Microstratigraphic evidence of in situ fire in the Acheulean strata of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South Africa.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109: E1215-E1220.


2012. Jacobson, L., F.C. de Beer, R. Nshimirimana, L.K. Horwitz, and M. Chazan.  Neutron tomographic assessment of incisions on prehistoric stone slabs: a case study from Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa.  Archaeometry. Article first published online: 30 MAR 2012 |


2012. Wilkins, J. and M. Chazan.  Blade production ~500 thousand years ago at Kathu Pan 1, South Africa:  support for a multiple origins hypothesis for early Middle Pleistocene blade technology.  Journal of Archaeological Science,  Available online 4 February 2012.


2012. Matmon, A., H. Ron, M. Chazan, N. Porat, L.K. Horwitz. Reconstruction the history of sediment deposition in caves: A case study from Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa.  Geological Society of America Bulletin 124 (3-4): 611-625.


2012.  Smith, P., R. Nshimirimana, F. de Beer, D. Morris, L. Jacobson, M. Chazan, and L.K. Horwitz.  Canteen Kopje: A new look at an old skull.  South African Journal of Science 108(1-2): 9 pags.


2009. Porat, N., Chazan, M., Grun, R., Aubert, M., Eisenmann, V., Kolska-Horwitz, L New radiometric ages for the Fauresmith industry from Kathu Pan, Southern Africa:  Implications for the Earlier to Middle Stone Age Transition.  Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 269-283.


2009. Ruther, H., M. Chazan, R. Schroeder, R. Neeser, C. Held, S.J. Walker, A. Matmon, and L.K. Horwitz. Laser scanning for conservation and research of African cultural heritage sites:  The case study of Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa.  Journal of Archeological Science 38: 1847-1856.


2008. Chazan, M.,  H. Ron, A. Matmon, N. Porat, P. Goldberg, R. Yates, M. Avery, A.  Sumner, and  L.K. Horwitz. First radiometric dates for the earlier stone age sequence in Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 55:1-11.




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