De Affaire Tjerk Vermaning.
Het verhaal over een amateurarcheoloog uit de Nederlandse geschiedenis. 

The Tjerk Vermaning Affair.

The true story about a famous amateur archaeologist from Dutch history.

How the dream of a passionate amateur archaeologist was destroyed by a number of professional archaeologists.

In 1965 and 1967, Neanderthal flint tools were found by Tjerk Vermaning in Hijken and Hoogersmilde. Those flint tools from prehistoric times were claimed by scientists and classified as treasure finds. These are finds from the Middle Palaeolithic and are of considerable historical value for the Netherlands. Tjerk Vermaning initially tried to keep these finds for himself, but was eventually forced to hand over his finds. However, with his later finds from Eemster, Vermaning did not want to repeat this and therefore did not report the site to the authorities. After his Eemster discoveries from 1972, Vermaning was arrested in March 1975 and charged with selling counterfeit flint tools to the province of Drenthe. From that moment on, the most controversial affair in Dutch archeology hit the news. It is illogical that Vermaning tried to gain financial advantage in this way by selling fake artefacts, given that he was forced to hand over the real artefacts from Hijken and Hoogersmilde. A forger who refuses to hand over his finds and does not report them later does not appear to be seeking financial gain or prestige. The lack of evidence for forgery and the substantiation of the accusation raise questions. Divergent views and positions and hypotheses are a normal and healthy part of scientific research and discussion. Current research methods and knowledge are insufficient to determine that Vermaning's finds are forgeries. This website explains why this is the case. This sheds a different light on the affair surrounding Tjerk Vermaning and argues for his innocence. Read how different interests come into conflict with each other in the affair surrounding Tjerk Vermaning, from the beginning in 1969 to the present day. The conflicting claims about the authenticity of artefacts can be explained by the diverse and complex conditions in which they have been preserved. This website contains several examples that demonstrate that the originality of the Middle Paleolithic tools found by Vermaning can be substantiated.

The Truth Behind the Flint Artifacts.


As an amateur archaeologist, Tjerk Vermaning has received much recognition in the Netherlands because of his discoveries, which have been purchased by museums and through publications in professional journals. However, this recognition lasted until a certain point.

Until now, based on conspiracy theories, Tjerk Vermaning is said to be actively involved in forging Neanderthal flint tools and tampering with sites. The result was the end of his career in archaeology. This website is about authentic flint tools from the Paleolithic that, according to   Prof. Tjalling Waterbolk,   were forged. This was due to doubts from    Drs. Dick Stapert who did not find the artefacts reliable and credible. According to Prof. Waterbolk, the flint artefacts   by Ad Wouters were made   on behalf of Assian Bohmers   to spite him, possibly in collaboration with Tjerk Vermaning.

This has led to controversy in the archaeological world and accusations of fraudulent practices against the amateur archaeologist. However, after extensive research and analysis of the flint tools by APAN amateur archaeologists, it was found that the tools are authentic and not forged. This has somewhat debunked the allegations of fraud, but the issue still remains a matter of discussion and debate in the archaeological community. In 2022, Tjerk Vermaning was again accused of forgery, but the evidence remains speculative. Which leads to a renewed discussion about the suspicion of contradictions. With the book “Forgery in Gesteente”, which was published in 2022, the authors and also the researchers try to pass off Tjerk Vermaning's flint artifacts as forgeries for good. After the publication of that publication, the APAN amateur archaeologists announced that once again no evidence has been provided, as there are many nuances and comments to be made about the research. No line has yet been drawn under the Vermaning affair.

This website was founded in February 2023 because of the ethical and moral issues surrounding the stones of Tjerk Vermaning. The forgery allegations have led to numerous questions regarding the credibility of the allegations that resurfaced in 2022. The accusation that the flint tools were forged arose after the artifacts were viewed under a microscope, but there is no guarantee that they were actually forged. You can find more information about this subject on this website.



The Amateur Archaeologist who Changed the History of the Netherlands.

Who was Tjerk Vermaning?

Tjerk Vermaning (Staphorst 1929) was the youngest child from a skipper's family. The family mainly traveled through the northern provinces with their inland vessel. They moored everywhere and Tjerk liked to wander through the adjacent fields. From an early age, he was interested in fossils that he found himself. But he also often found tools from prehistoric man on the same lands. He wanted to know more about this and that is why he started visiting libraries and borrowing books about it. Through self-study he became an autodidact in the field of fossil science and an expert on flint tools of early man. He learned to distinguish the different cultures and his desire was to discover the earliest. After his marriage to Grada, he bought his own boat and became an independent inland skipper, as well as a specialist in sharpening all kinds of mowing machines, such as lawn mowers. This later became his main source of income. Once moored somewhere, he visited the farmers on his moped for grinding assignments. He also continued to scour the fields. Particularly in Drenthe, he successfully discovered many encampments of prehistoric inhabitants. He recognized most cultures, but for the correct identification of some special finds he contacted professional archaeologists from the Drents Museum. Over the years, Vermaning had become a specialist in the field of the Old Stone Age, the Paleolithic. As mentioned, he did not rely solely on repairing agricultural implements and sharpening knives and mowers for his livelihood. In addition, he often sold fossils and artifacts he found to museums. Later he lived for some time on a subsidy from the province of Drenthe, as a flint seeker. He had turned his houseboat into his own museum, he called it De Palaeohistoria. Tjerk Vermaning discovered three important flint concentrations from the Middle Palaeolithic. With these finds, Vermaning showed that the habitation history of Drenthe and therefore the Netherlands began fifty thousand and even a hundred thousand years earlier. Vermaning thus made an important contribution to the History of the Netherlands. He died on October 11, 1987 at the age of 58 in the University Hospital of Groningen. Tjerk Vermaning has become the most famous amateur archaeologist in the Netherlands. His finds were purchased by museums and published in professional journals. Vermaning received the Cultural Prize of Drenthe and also an annual allowance to continue the search. That changed on March 18, 1975. He was at the center of the most controversial period in Dutch archaeology. By the statement of Drs. Stapert, led by Prof. Waterbolk affiliated with the Biological-Archaeological Institute of the University of Groningen. All Vermaning stones would consist of freshly processed stones, which would later have been processed with electric grinding wheels.



Tjerk Vermaning's groundbreaking discoveries in Dutch History: Three crucial discovery complexes with Neanderthal tools.

In 1965 and 1967, Vermaning claimed the discovery of two, according to him, slaughter sites of mammoth hunters in Hoogersmilde and Hijken. In 1972 the site of Eemster was added. Fossils of mammoths have been found during excavation work in the provinces of Drenthe and Friesland. The Neanderthals hunted mammoths because mammoths were an important source of food and materials for these prehistoric Neanderthals. Mammoths provided meat for food and skins and bones for clothing, tools and other utensils. In addition, mammoths were often large and slow prey, making them relatively easy prey for the Neanderthals with their hunting techniques. Hunting mammoths and other game was therefore an essential part of the survival instinct of the Neanderthals.


Tjerk Vermaning discovered three important Neanderthal sites with flint concentrations from the Middle Paleolithic. Vermaning also found flint tools from the Neolithic and Mesolithic on various agricultural fields. His important discoveries mainly concern flint tools made by Neanderthals from the Middle Paleolithic. Neanderthals from the Middle Paleolithic. These finds mean a lot because the habitation history of Drenthe and therefore the Netherlands began thirty to fifty thousand and even a hundred thousand years earlier than was generally assumed. They are flint tools made by Neanderthals. Neanderthals lived in Europe and Asia for 300,000 years, but Neanderthals quickly became extinct 43,000 to 38,000 years ago.


1. Hoogersmilde.

On the left in the photo Farmer Vos, the landowner of the Hoogersmilde site. He himself had no interest in preserving half of the discoveries, he wanted to give them to Tjerk Vermaning.

In 1965, at the age of 36, Vermaning discovered two concentrations of slaughter sites of mammoth hunters in a field of farmer W. Vos on the Roelfsemaweg, approximately 200 meters from the television tower (transmission tower for the transmission of television and radio signals) of Hoogersmilde. It was the first time that several hand axes from the Old Stone Age were found together at one site in the Northern Netherlands. This indicates that there was a Neanderthal camp. These finds, a total of 127 flint tools, were purchased by the province of Drenthe, from which the landowner and farmer Vos received half of the money under the treasure discovery scheme. The BAI engaged Prof. Schwabedissen from Cologne to appraise the value of the finds, and these were subsequently acquired at the appraised value of 14,000 guilders. The tools were classified on the basis of their design within the culture of the late Acheulean, to be precise at the MTA the Mousterien de tradition Acheulean. The Neanderthal Mousterian is characterized by a certain type of stone tools. With an age of approximately 70,000 years to 80,000 years. The finds were found by Vermaning in a "deeply plowed" field, probably originating from the upper layers of the "blue" boulder clay weathered in the Eemian, the so-called boulder sand.


2. Hijken.

In August 1967, Vermaning made another discovery of a "mammoth hunter encampment". This was near Hijken on the Vorrelveen road with finds of 45,000 - 50,000 years old, with more than 400 artifacts that showed similarities with the earlier finds of Hoogersmilde. Thanks to his experience, Vermaning now knew where to look for his archaeological hits.

3. Eemster.

In 1972, the finds of very old stone tools at Staphorst were added, which were even estimated at 250,000-500,000 years old, they were comparable to the stone tools found in Vértesszőlős, Hungary, and 17 more stone tools at Eemster (municipality of Dwingeloo ), which he had not yet announced. These were tools that could be 80,000 to 90,000 years old. He found the first indications for this group of finds in the "stone catcher" of the Oranje potato flour factory in Hijken. Through information from the truck driver, he found out the precise location of the potato field where these finds, together with the potatoes, had come from. He went searching and found several hand axes and associated tools, both in the field and in heaps of stones next to the field. He named the site Eemster to keep the location on the Schietveld near Lee, Leebroek secret.

On October 31, 1972, Vermaning and his wife Grada Vermaning Jansen sold the stones to the Biological Archaeological Institute of the University of Groningen. Vermaning found three important Middle Palaeolithic complexes in Drenthe between 1965 and 1972: Hoogersmilde in 1965 (the two concentrations referred to as Hoogersmilde A and B), Hijken in 1967 and Eemster in 1972. Later, the concentration at Ravenswoud, Lheebroek was also added. be added. With his finds he had extended the history of man's presence in the Netherlands. On a geological scale, Vermaning found the Neanderthal habitats in a limited area. The Neanderthals probably had a good reason to settle in that particular area. It cannot be ruled out that more sites will be discovered in that area in the future. This would be of great significance for Vermaning.

Tjerk Vermaning accused of forgery.

In 1967, Tjerk Vermaning discovered a "mammoth hunter's encampment" near Hijken with more than 400 artifacts spread over a field with similarities to the earlier finds at Hoogersmilde. Vermaning also found various flint artefacts that are 50,000-80,000 years old at other sites such as Eemster. He showed that habitation in the Netherlands began a hundred thousand years earlier than was generally assumed.

In 1972, under pressure, Vermaning sold some of his finds to the Biological-Archaeological Institute of the University of Groningen. Prof. Waterbolk, who had recognized Vermaning's finds as authentically Paleolithic in 1973, later had his doubts. Prof. Waterbolk and Drs. Stapert, from the Biological Archaeological Institute, had their doubts about the authenticity of the artefacts. Stapert wanted to promote tools as forgeries with his vague discovery on flint. The result was that Vermaning was arrested by the police on March 18, 1975 on suspicion of fraud and was taken to the state police station in Assen for questioning and was only released after 26 hours.


The judicial laboratory was called in for the criminal investigation, but they stated that they were not experts in the field of Stone Age artifacts. They asked for advice from Stapert, who accused Vermaning and more or less led the investigation of the judicial laboratory in the Vermaning case. As a result, there was no independent investigation, as Stapert himself came up with the accusations. The judicial system made major mistakes by giving Stapert the opportunity to act as an unauthorized investigating officer by allowing him to search Vermaning's houseboat. He searched the drawers and cupboards in a rough manner. This happened while Tjerk Vermaning was still being held at the state police station in Assen. This led to serious disruption and unacceptable impropriety in the investigation.


A criminal verdict followed in 1977. Vermaning was initially found guilty of fraud and sentenced to one month in prison on June 17, 1977. By the claim of Drs. Stapert and Prof. Waterbolk that the Vermaning artefacts consisted of freshly worked stones, which were later processed with electric grinding wheels. Stapert had only partially examined the Hoogersmilde collection. Stapert had not seen the Eemster and Ravenswoud collection for research, but stated during the court hearing that he had examined both collections. A third of the Hijken collection appears to have gone missing before or during the Vermaning trial to this day. 


Dr. G. Boom of the University of Groningen and researcher at the Physical Metallurgy laboratory, discovered a remarkable similarity under the electron microscope. The surface layer between authentic artifacts and the Vermaning artifacts showed no spectral or microscopic difference. Unfortunately, this discovery was downplayed by Stapert during the trial and referred to as unimportant, which meant that the research report of March 10, 1975 by Dr. Boom did not receive attention in the court hearing. That information would have been crucial for Vermaning during the trial. The outcome of the conclusion from Dr. G. Boom's report was to the disadvantage of Drs. Stapert and Prof. Waterbolk. During the opening of the court hearing, Dr. Boom's name was not mentioned when the court clerk read out the list of expert witnesses. The investigation report was deliberately kept out of court by Stapert.

Tjerk Vermaning decided to appeal after the lower court's verdict was pronounced. The 2nd hearing started on November 30, 1978 and on appeal on December 21, 1978, he was acquitted because it could not be proven and demonstrated that the artifacts were forged. The Groningen professionals Prof. Waterbolk and Stapert had not substantiated their charges sufficiently and with mutual contradictions and poor evidence. The court is of the opinion that the prosecutors have not succeeded in coordinating their accusations, while Professor Bosinski, as an expert, even manages to fit a Vermaning stone on a prehistoric stone tool he has declared authentic. of color. It was the same Bosinski, who also made a flint reconstitution from yellow flint from his own excavation and described it in “Bonner Jahrbucher” 166, page 324, he stated in court under oath that he had no experience with yellow flint. Prof. Bosinski also told the court: “the stone compositions of Vermaning are proof of Forgery. Bosinski himself writes in his articles about the stone compositions he found as authentically Middle Palaeolithic. He also calls a Vermaning hand ax "false" which he later wrote that he had not examined. A suitable deflection that he declared to be Middle Paleolithic fitted the hand ax that he declared to be false. Prof. Bosinski was, just like Prof. Bordes is a kind of flashing light expert. The specific piece of evidence, the yellow Leemdijk axe, played a crucial role in the process of proving Vermaning's innocence by Ad Wouters.


Vermaning felt his good name was damaged. Vermaning discovered how difficult it was to refute an unreliable investigation, since it was not about facts, but about authorities who were initially implicitly believed, they used them, but also abused them. Amateur archaeologists helped Tjerk Vermaning by providing demonstrable evidence that the artifacts were not forged. Dr. C. Franssen from Bennekom and Ad Wouters from Lent were expert witnesses for Vermaning.


After his acquittal, Vermaning filed a complaint for libel and slander against H.T. Waterbolk and D. Stapert. Even though the chief officer saw no reason to uphold the charges, Vermaning filed an appeal. The appeal was also set aside. The court wanted to put an end to the protracted issue.

The Vermaning case received a lot of attention nationally on TV and in newspapers, creating a public image and dividing opinions. Interested amateur archaeologists started the association   APAN   Aktieve Praktijk Archeologie Nederland in 1976 in support of Tjerk Vermaning . Friends of Vermaning describe Vermaning as an honest man of integrity, who is not complicit and guilty of fraud and deceit. After the trial, books about the Tjerk Vermaning case were published and a special exhibition was held in the Drenthe museum. To this day, professional and amateur archaeologists still disagree about Vermaning's finds. Since then, Tjerk Vermaning has become the most controversial and famous amateur archaeologist in the Netherlands.

Vermaning picked up the hand axes in 1965 on the surface of the boulder sand in Hoogersmilde, which is the layer that lies directly on the boulder clay. In the same year, professional archaeologist Van der Waals started an archaeological excavation in the untouched soil layers of the Hoogersmilde site in October 1965. This revealed a quarter of the total finds, 26 tools that were identical in all respects to the Vermanings finds. Stapert, later came up with the arguments why Van der Waals had been fooled by Tjerk Vermaning, according to Stapert. Van der Waals had no choice but to change his position. The hand axes are said to have been forged and later buried in the ground. "But then you can assume that an experienced archaeologist like Van der Waals could tell the difference between disturbed and undisturbed soil layers?"

Prof. Waterbolk had come up with a solution for that difference between disturbed and undisturbed soil. Waterbolk claimed that Tjerk Vermaning secretly put the stones in the ground during archaeological excavations when it rained, so that the stones are easy to press into the ground and it is as if they are in undisturbed ground. However, this was not supported by an archeology student who indicated in his study report during the excavations that the ground was extremely hard and the temperature cold. Farmer Vos had also already announced that the soil at the Hoogersmilde site was rock hard at the time, so that it was impossible to hammer a nail into the ground. The alleged depth at which Vermaning would have buried the stones was 80 cm deep. However, Prof. Waterbolk's argument that the stones could be pressed firmly into the ground by rain showers is incorrect. It was emphasized by Ad Wouters that there was no rain at all during the excavations in Hoogersmilde in 1965. An analysis of a weather map from the KNMI confirmed this fact, as the first heavy rain shower only occurred five days after completion of the excavation. A weather map from the KNMI from 27-9 to 16-10-1965 confirms this. If Tjerk Vermaning had put those stones in the ground, it would have been noticed. During the soil formation, the artefacts have remained reasonably close together in a loamy pebble sand layer, so that they hardly develop any patina, because they have been well embedded in the loam through cyroturbation.

Looking for recognition.


Tjerk Vermaning was determined to prove that Neanderthals had lived in the Netherlands. He had repeated conversations with archaeologists, including curator and archaeologist JD van der Waals of the Drents Museum (1959-1966). Van der Waals became irritated because Vermaning kept visiting him in the winter and started bringing up the subject again and again, claiming that he was going to find the proof. Van der Waals could not recognize any tools in the loose flint finds that were shown to him and with which, according to him, he was regularly harassed. Ultimately, Van der Waals later had to admit that Vermaning had shown with the finds from Hoogersmilde that Neanderthals lived in the Netherlands. However, after doubts expressed by Stapert in 1975 about the authenticity of the artifacts, Van der Waals became suspicious and disappointed. He then referred to Vermaning's visits as coming by to have small talk. Nevertheless, he recognized that Vermaning had an exceptional talent for finding artifacts. However, after Stapert's false findings, little positive was said about Vermaning and its sites, and Van der Waals also questioned its reliability. Despite this, the archaeological excavation that Van der Waals carried out in October 1965 in the pristine soil layers of the Hoogersmilde site revealed tools that were identical in all respects to the finds of the Vermanings. Van der Waals agreed with Stapert's argument that Vermaning had cleverly placed the flint tools in the ground.

Tjerk Vermaning had felt resistance from outside for some time, mainly because of the cultural gap between him and the academically trained archaeologists. He felt sidelined and disappointed that he did not receive the recognition and prizes he expected for his discoveries. He blamed Van der Waals and other archaeologists for not receiving royal honors on Queen's Day, for the cultural prize of Drenthe going to someone else and for not receiving an honorary doctorate. The relationship between Vermaning and professional archeology was poor and was exacerbated by Vermaning's open criticism in the media. Archaeologists, including Prof. Waterbolk, turned against Vermaning and accused him of not having exclusive knowledge about archaeology. In the lawsuit against him, no professional archaeologist was willing to defend Tjerk Vermaning.

Vermaning did not hesitate to publicize his findings in the media. At the time when Tjerk Vermaning made his important discoveries, journalists managed to challenge Vermaning and elicit statements from him that were not always scientific-diplomatic. As an underdog, Vermaning took advantage of the benefit of the doubt to gain recognition through the media. Vermaning, however, ran into academic walls and was more susceptible to influence and provoking controversial statements. This ultimately had consequences when Stapert expressed doubts about the authenticity of the artifacts. It is important to emphasize that Vermaning rightly criticized a system in which academic titles were taken as a criterion for seeing someone as equal in archaeology. He felt disadvantaged by this system and that led to feelings of injustice. A criminal investigation in which those who accused him searched his houseboat, were convicted with mutual contradictions, and bad evidence up to a month in prison, confirmed his aversion to a system in which academic titles were used as the norm. Although his behavior sometimes raised doubts, this does not necessarily mean that Vermaning was wrong in his discoveries. Vermaning's behavior and the validity of his findings must be regarded as separate matters. It is important to have a balanced approach that assesses the factual evidence and scientific research into the authenticity of the artifacts, without procedural errors in the judicial investigation and regardless of Vermaning's behavior in his fight for recognition.


Tjerk Vermaning was a passionate amateur archaeologist who devoted a large part of his life to searching for artefacts from prehistory. With unprecedented drive and determination, he searched the fields year after year, in every spare hour, always looking for important discoveries. He had a deep respect for prehistory and saw it as his mission to increase knowledge about this era. Vermaning was a pioneer far ahead of his time and his finds have significantly influenced the archaeological world. Although there has been criticism of his work, Vermaning remained driven and persistent. He was driven by a deep passion for archeology and an insatiable curiosity about the past. He saw himself as a guardian of our history and was determined to uncover the truth. While there has been speculation as to why Vermaning would choose to forge flint artifacts, there is no definitive proof and answer to that question. It is important to note that these are just speculations of some professional archaeologists. Vermaning regularly sought out the media to share his discoveries with a wide audience and wanted to prove his innocence after the accusations. He could not understand why professional archaeologists considered his discoveries as forgeries and thus did not value our history as a precious commodity.


It remains a great mystery what happened behind the scenes of Prof. Waterbolk's BAI. Some rumors have come out that the atmosphere between them at the time was not always pleasant. In 1985, a report appeared in the Telegraaf about a professional archaeologist who worked for the National Office for Archaeological Soil Research. The ROB investigator, A. Bruin, reports that Tjerk Vermaning was the victim of a smear campaign that was waged against him. The newspaper headline read: "Stones from the Vermaning collection are absolutely real." He talks about the lawsuit against Vermaning: when I stood there to defend the Vermaning case, not a single piece of the entire complaint remained intact.


Tjerk Vermaning keeps the site of Eemster 1 a secret from professional archaeologists.

In November 1972, Vermaning was at the Oranje potato flour factory. He discovered worked pieces of flint among the mechanically harvested potatoes from Eemster. During the potato season he worked every day at one of the stone catchers at a potato flour factory. These finds led him to the site where he picked up 160 pieces, including hand axes, scrapers, spear points and beak drills, that he discovered in the field. He felt like the discoverer of the largest mammoth hunting camp in Europe. Tjerk Vermaning keeps the site of a field near the small village of Lee a secret from professional archaeologists. He therefore calls the location Eemster. On February 25, 1975, Waterbolk made an attempt to find out the location. Vermaning does not want to report that discovery site, because he might lose this group of artifacts again. Without location data it has no value. He and his wife visited the site until 1973 and the total number of artifacts grew to 243. The scientific value of these finds is enormous, as they are an important discovery of a Neanderthal habitat. In 1965 and 1967, the finds from Hijken and Hoogersmilde were claimed by scientists and declared treasure finds. Tjerk Vermaning also wanted to keep those finds for himself, but he was obliged to hand over his flint artifacts. Admonition did not allow this to happen with the Eemster finds and therefore did not report the discovery location. Waterbolk does not want to be passed over again with Eemster. But Vermaning doesn't budge. Prof. Waterbolk continued to insist and his patience ran out. Drs. Stapert coincidentally draws his conclusion around the same time that the flint tools are counterfeit, Waterbolk files a report for fraud. Vermaning was criticized for not asking permission from the farmer who owned the field where the Eemster site was located. This decision was understandable, as it prevented Waterbolk from finding out the exact location of the site.


After the lawsuit, Archaeological Netherlands is confronted with a deep divide. The central question is whether the amateur archaeologist's stones are real or not. The Tjerk Vermaning affair continues. Dr. Bohmers of the Biological-Archaeological Institute of Groningen was the expert at the time. Vermaning says, "But apparently he didn't dare to do it" , because such old finds in that composition had never been found in the Netherlands before. Bohmers claimed that the stones are pseudo-artefacts. But Vermaning was not discouraged. In 1963 he found a chip from the Middle Paleolithic, a piece that must have been knocked off when making a hand axe. For the first time he received recognition from Dr. Bohmers. Two years later, Vermaning discovered his first major find, in January 1965. It was an astonishing discovery, because at the time nothing was known about mammoth hunter camps in the Netherlands. After 8 years of own scientific research, including 3 years of preliminary study and 5 years of terrain exploration, Vermaning discovered two small stopping places of mammoth hunters from the time of the Neanderthal, just 400 meters away from the Hoogersmilde television mast, which are approximately 70,000 years old. At that time, Vermaning increasingly came into conflict with the Biological Archaeological Institute of Groningen. As a man without education, he made all kinds of discoveries and wanted recognition, preferably in the form of an honorary doctorate. Even with his expertise and experience, he is hampered by the diploma democracy in the Netherlands. Real scientific recognition did not come and Vermaning felt increasingly misunderstood, especially by the then new director of the Groningen Biological Archaeological Institute, Professor Waterbolk. Prof. Waterbolk was hired as the new director of the Biological Archaeological Institute in Groningen, where he met Dr. Bohmers had replaced.


Tjerk Vermaning went too far according to Waterbolk. He did not report the new site to the authorities, although this is required by law. Vermaning talks about this: "Listen, he says, you think you have a monopoly on all of archaeology, but we will find a way to undermine you.” "That's what Waterbolk told me. They sued me in 1975." When Vermaning was arrested, a press conference followed where Professor Waterbolk revealed his suspicions of forgery on Dutch radio, TV channels and in newspapers. Less than two years earlier, Waterbolk had called Vermaning's find valuable in a scientific article. The discoverer of the forgery was his assistant, Drs. Stappert. Vermaning adds that Stappert was a young guy and a graduated geologist, not an archaeologist or expert on artifacts. According to Vermaning, Stappert had only moderate knowledge of flint tools. Vermaning relates that the finds found by others, of which there were few, and which were found scattered across the country, shone, while his own finds were dull and dull. This put Stappert and Waterbolk on the wrong track. This leads to an endless and confusing technical discussion between experts from home and abroad. This discussion is fought out during two court hearings in 1977 and 1978, but no conclusion is reached. In December 1978, the court in Leeuwarden decided to acquit Vermaning due to lack of evidence.

The question remains whether proof of forgery can actually be provided. Vermaning said that all the scientists have to do is start an excavation at a secret site near the town of Eemster. Eemster lends itself to an excavation and can provide proof of my innocence. Vermaning explains in a VPRO interview from 1986: "I have to say exactly how it all works. Two years ago I found that large concentration in Eemster. There were about 350 pieces. I sold them to two amateur archaeologists, Mr Pieter Dijkstra from Veldhoven and Evert Musch from Anloo, for 7,000 guilders. I have given up that location because I can no longer maintain it due to my health. I have had several heart attacks and can no longer handle the tension." Vermaning doesn't want any more hassle and has therefore sold the pieces. He says: "You don't buy 7,000 guilder pieces if you think they are counterfeit. So you don't. Those people knew they were real." The province of Drenthe had made 100,000 guilders available for an excavation in Eemster, which Vermaning was very happy with at the time. The excavation was to be carried out by the Dutch Archeology Foundation, but Jan Evert Musch, the man who bought part of the collection, did not want to hand over the collection to the foundation. Musch does not trust the foundation, since one of the big men there, Professor Louwe Kooijmans of Leiden University, is shaking hands with Prof. Waterbolk. Kooijmans is not objective, says Musch. Louwe Kooijmans offered to lead the excavation as a second opinion. Waterbolk, however, doubted the necessity of the excavation and emphasized that little evidence would be found. Ultimately, Louwe Kooijmans decided that the stones of Eemster I should be examined first, which led to confusion and even opposition from the other APAN amateur archaeologists. That had nothing to do with the excavation. Pieter Dijkstra is also late letter from 1985 they have no confidence in the research. The APAN members believed that the excavation of Eemster II should take place first in order to arrive at an independent and objective assessment.


The plans for a second opinion excavation at Eemster II have led to frustration, dissatisfaction and distrust. Ad Wouters wrote about this in a letter to Tjerk Vermaning on October 17, 1985, not to turn it into a political game together with some APAN friends, but to put the archaeological importance first. He asks Vermaning not to argue out of personal interest in the media with damages amounting to one million. Because he could lose the professional archaeologists who support him. Ad Wouters advises Vermaning to have the excavation carried out not only by the Dutch Archeology Foundation, but also by the National Department of Ancient Soil Research. And Vermaning advises him to remain steadfast and not to give in to the pressure for his rehabilitation. He advises him to keep his emotions under control during interviews. Ad Wouters is convinced that the ROB can be trusted with the excavation and can prove proof of Vermaning's innocence. He refers to three APAN members who passed on the investigation too early to the NvhN, by which Wouters probably means the newspaper of the North. While secrecy had been agreed. The interview with Karst Janssen of the ROB by the Telegraaf of October 8, 1985, confirmed Ad Wouters' argument in his letter to Vermaning that the National Department of Archaeological Soil Research is already working on it.

The excitement and emotions that arose prior to the excavation of Eemster II led to the entire excavation process being made impossible in 1985. Ad Wouters and Evert Musch did not agree with the decision of the APAN board to have the excavation carried out by L. Kooijmans and to donate the stones. Even without cooperation with the ROB, Wouters saw no point in it and decided to suspend his ties with APAN. APAN member Musch had also suspended his cooperation. Vermaning unknowingly put too much pressure on the excavation with the fond wish for rehabilitation and compensation, which he announced with Eemster II in a program by the Catholic Radio Broadcaster. In doing so, he took the risk that the ROB could drop out and all the work Wouters had done for it would be in vain. The ROB supported Vermaning because of its archaeological importance and not for compensation. The excavation was under pressure from the province, which had passed on the money for the excavation to the Dutch Archeology Foundation while Ad Wouters was busy having the excavation prepared by the ROB ( see Wouters' letter to Vermaning ). Vermaning probably lost control of the whole thing because it was pulled on all sides and he allowed himself to be carried away too much by emotions. The Eemster II excavation became an affair in itself, creating a division within the APAN club. The chairman P. Hoekstra decided to resign, and more than 30 members went with him and left the APAN club, because they did not feel supported to continue the excavation under the leadership of Professor Louwe Kooijmans.


Vermaning suspected that the official archaeologists would go to any lengths to avoid definitive proof of the authenticity of the artifacts. Vermaning suspects that if an excavation takes place in Eemster, where no excavation has ever taken place and where exactly the same artefacts are excavated with the same characteristics, scratches and wear, and possibly pieces that match the pieces that Vermaning has already found, then Waterbolk and Stappert getting in trouble. Then they will have to admit their blunders. But that's not the worst of it. The entire Biological-Archaeological Institute of Groningen will go under. Vermaning also claims that the judicial laboratory in Rijswijk, specifically Dr. Groeneveld and Dr. Witte, conspired with Professor Waterbolk, Dr. Stappert and Professor Dr. Bozinski from Cologne. We can prove this, says Vermaning. They did this before to protect each other. Waterbolk refuses to comment on Vermaning's statements. He says he has not commented on Vermaning for years. Tjerk Vermaning tried to persuade Leiden Professor Kooijmans in writing to conduct an excavation at the secret site in Eemster. Kooijmans was willing and in February 1986, together with Dr. Roebroeks came by to talk about the excavation. It was agreed that in a follow-up conversation Vermaning would point out the Eemster site. Vermaning who himself contacted Professor Dr. Louwe Kooijmans felt cheated after that conversation, because Kooijmans wrote in a letter to Vermaning that he had contacted other institutes, including the BAI of Waterbolk, and according to Vermaning that was not the agreement he had with Kooijmans. Vermaning sent him a letter back in which he stated that he would no longer point out the site if his enemies, who had destroyed his family, were involved in the excavation in Eemster. That was not the agreement he had made with Kooijmans. Behind Vermaning's back, Prof. Kooijmans contacted the BAI where Prof. Waterbolk was in charge. The provincial government of Drenthe eventually imposed an ultimatum and the excavation was canceled. The province of Drenthe withdrew the 100,000 guilders for the excavation. Prof. Waterbolk was relieved.


Tjerk Vermaning worked carefully at the site. He recorded each find, numbered them in the order found and placed flags to ensure a clear overview. This was to create a record of the location where he picked up the artifacts. Below, “Eemster 1.” Some flint tools found in 1972 by Tjerk Vermaning. Serrated tool, convex planer and biface.

EE.72-50   EE.72-70
EE.72-17   EE.72-53

Some of the 144 exits of “Eemster 1”. The deposits make it clear that there was a Middle Paleolithic production site. 

Despite the disappointment and the negative impact on his health, Vermaning continued to fight determinedly for rehabilitation. He persisted in his fight because he simply could not tolerate injustice. Vermaning's determination to continue fighting for rehabilitation despite disappointment and negative impact on his health shows that he sincerely believes in his innocence and is unwilling to accept injustice. He is determined to clear his name and seek justice, which is an honest motivation. In the VPRO radio interview from 1986, Section 'De Afloop', in which old issues are examined again, Vermaning talks about this. External link: The VPRO radio interview provides more insight into these events. Eighteen months later after the cancellation of the Eemster excavation, Vermaning died. In accordance with his last will and testament, he had his ashes scattered at the Hoogersmilde site. Prof. Waterbolk retires the same year.

Underground Perspective Eemster 2.

Tjerk Vermaning did not keep the location of Eemster completely secret from some of his APAN friends, so the exact location was known to them. Well after Vermaning's death, it was the amateur archaeologist Klaas Geertsma who used his spade to excavate a small discoid at a depth of 60/70 cm in the loamy and ferruginous boulder sand at the Eemster site. Fig, a. Klaas Geertsma currently manages the APAN share of the artefacts that APAN member Pieter Dijkstra had purchased from Tjerk Vermaning. This is almost half of the total collection, the other half was purchased by Jan Evert Musch from Anloo. In addition, some artifacts from Eemster are in the possession of amateur archaeologist Ewold Horn from Rolde. These artefacts had been found by deep plowing from a depth of 60 to 70 cm from the former old permafrost layer, where cryoturbation had led to wear of the stones. APAN member Jan Glimmerveen reported these later finds by Geertsma, after the death of Tjerk Vermaning, to the authorities to provide proof that Vermaning's finds did not consist of forged pieces. He showed the group found by Geertsma, now consisting of seven artefacts, to Prof. Dr. Wil Roebroeks of the University of Leiden. Roebroeks advised him to make an official find report and address it to the provincial archaeologist of Drenthe, Wijnand van der Sanden. Subsequently, research into the authenticity of the Eemster finds was carried out by the Roebroeks team. However, this research was considered unscientific by the APAN. W. Roebroeks and his team collected their collection of surface flint samples from the building furrow. These ordinary stones, not artefacts, served as a basis for comparison with the tool artefacts of Tjerk Vermaning. Right on the Eemster site, the Roebroeks team did not put a spade in the ground, but elsewhere on the location. Without putting a spade in the ground at the Geertsma location, it is not possible to clearly determine to what horizons the influence of the land consolidation has reached where those finds were located. In principle, a land consolidation goes as deep as necessary and it is therefore difficult to name a specific depth. An earlier study by Ad Wouters, who dug a profile wall into the ditch wall immediately adjacent to the site, showed that the soil showed signs of cryoturbation, which had caused the soil to fold; this was clearly visible in the old permafrost layer. See image, b. Due to the fact that Geertsma had not excavated his finds at the exact location, no evidence of a concentration can be demonstrated. Although the Roebroeks team did dig and even produced some finds, this was not significant enough for a good archaeological investigation. The amateur archaeologists from APAN who came to the site themselves and even helped, although they were not invited to the excavation, were skeptical about how the Roebroeks team worked, because they saw shortcomings in the excavation method that was used. Their doubts and criticisms focused on the methodology and accuracy of the work carried out during the excavation. Team Roebroeks argued that the farmer would not appreciate it if they dug elsewhere in the field.


▲    In 1993, Klaas Geertsma discovered a discoid hand ax during his excavation .


▲ Eemster, find-bearing layer, during the coldest phase of the Vistula Pleniglacial, 30,000 – 20,000 BP, cryoturbate folded.

▲ Profile 1986: “Eemster, from Lee, on the road, Schietveld”. Prof. Dr. J. Jansen from the department of “Chemical Geology” Utrecht points out the cyroturbate folds. The discolorations on a deposit found at the Eemster site had the same deposits that were identical in color as in the cyroturbate matrix.


The Roebroeks team missed many opportunities. The archaeological investigation was not carried out with sufficient care. It was therefore an unpleasant surprise for Klaas Geertsma when the provincial archaeologist of Drenthe, Wijnand van der Sanden, informed him by telephone that the Roebroeks team had concluded after investigation that the Eemster artifacts were forged. Given the history in which professional archaeologist Roebroeks de Eemster had previously declared finds as authentic and this had been the basis for Jan Glimmerveen's report of the find. The well-known arguments for labeling the Vermaning artifacts as false were used again. The artifacts would differ greatly from what is known from the European Middle Paleolithic. However, these deviations would not indicate authenticity. Once again, the archaeological context, the anomalous flint and the rounded ribs, were used as arguments to declare the Eemster find location as a fraudulent archaeological site.

In image b. Eemster. In the chipped ditch wall right next to the site you can see the ferruginous layer that is conspicuously in the old upper folded permafrost layer of the horizon, the clenching was caused by cryoturbation. It is remarkable that rust-brown iron oxide weathering is present on the artefact Fig. a. that was excavated by Klaas Geertsma, which suggests that the artefact may have been located on and/or in the permafrost layer. Image a. This artifact shows the brown iron infiltration deposited in the cortex layer, probably originating in the layer of ferrous material as shown in image b. Image b. This horizon image shows the layer of ferrous material from which the brown iron infiltration in the cortex layer of the artifact probably originated. A cortex layer (calcite layer) on a flint artifact, which is usually white in color, refers to the outer part of the flint that has not been worked by humans. It is the natural crust or shell that forms on the flint during its formation and growth. That layer was now brown due to the iron in the permafrost layer at a depth of 60 to 70 cm. Although it appears as if the permafrost layer has not been disturbed by the land consolidation work, it may have been disturbed to some extent. No thorough research has been done. In general, land consolidation can be effective to a depth of 30 to 50 centimeters for mixing and turning soil. This improves the soil structure, organic matter is mixed and nutrients are distributed more evenly. In local places it could be deepened. It is possible that the artefacts that Vermaning collected on the surface were originally at a depth of 60 to 70 cm.

It appears that the professional archaeologists involved in the research into Vermaning's Eemster artefacts had a motivation to continue to regard Vermaning as a forger of artefacts. Inner underlying conflicts may play an important role in this?

 The images show the Eemster 2 artifacts discovered by Klaas Geertsma, including the Discoid hand ax found in 1993. Scraper, handle scraper, plug, small discoid, scraper with a plug on the tip and a small block scraper and a back knife. 

After the Roebroeks team rejected the Eemster site, Klaas Geertsma did not give up. He persevered and eventually managed to get a second opinion to assess the finds. In 2005, Harry Huisman , natural stone expert from the Nature Museum in Groningen, was called in to evaluate the Eemster finds. Huisman concluded that the finds were as real as they could be. " In any case, I would have immediately declared them authentic , " Huisman said. Klaas Geertsma, amateur archaeologist and board representative of the Practical Archeology APAN association, decided to draw attention to the affair surrounding Tjerk Vermaning again. He hoped to prove Vermaning's innocence. However, after the publication of a newspaper article about this, it remained remarkably quiet on the other side and Geertsma failed to draw further attention to the Eemster site. Another missed opportunity to expose the truth. Although rarer, southern flint also occurs in the northern Netherlands, and in his plea Huismans acknowledges this without denying it. According to Marcel Niekus, archaeologist and co-author of the book 'False in Rock' in which the finds of Vermaning are described as forgeries, there is a lack of evidence for the occurrence of southern flint in the Northern Netherlands, thus confirming the claims of Geertsma and Huisman. disputed. As a result, the Eemster artefacts no longer receive any further attention after that time. The Tjerk Vermaning affair is covered up again.


On a geological scale, Vermaning has made his discoveries within a limited area, where flint types, soil and processing techniques show similarities. This indicates that Neanderthals were actively present in the Northern Netherlands during a specific period. Unfortunately, some professional archaeologists have backed themselves into a corner by rejecting Vermaning's finds. It is hoped that these finds and their records will not be lost to future researchers with better research methods and knowledge than is currently available. A third of the finds from Hijken that were purchased by the state before or during the 1978 lawsuit, and under the management of several professional archaeologists, remain missing to this day. It is therefore logical that the defenders of Vermaning choose not to simply hand over the Eemster finds, but to carefully preserve and protect them. These precautions are necessary to ensure that the finds are not lost again and that they can be used for reliable and objective research in the future. The judge ruled in 1978 that the flint finds from Vermaning that were purchased by the state must from now on be carefully preserved. This decision emphasizes the importance of preserving archaeological heritage and safeguarding the knowledge and history that comes from it.

“Who forged the real hand axes?”

Until 1972, the Leemdijk ax lay in Tjerk Vermaning's display case on his museum ship Palaeohistoria in Hoogersmilde, after which it was donated to the province of Drenthe and given a place in the Drents Museum. For three years the ax was considered one of the most beautiful archaeological finds in the Netherlands, but in 1975 it was unfortunately declared a fake and disappeared from view. Ad Wouters used this ax to demonstrate during the lawsuit that the ax was not forged. Part of the ax was knocked off, resulting in a noticeable color difference on the affected area. This color difference is caused by long-term processes in the soil. These reactions can lead to discoloration and the adoption of different shades. This color difference could not possibly have arisen if the ax had recently been made from freshly worked flint and then placed in the ground. This particular piece of evidence played a crucial role in the process of proving Vermaning's innocence. Tjerk vermaning found the Middle Paleolithic Leemdijk ax in 1967 on an unpaved dirt road next to the arable lands southeast of the Leembrug in Middensmilde. The unpaved dirt road was paved over a length of 300 meters with field boulders that had been sorted out during the potato harvesting to harden the sand road. Photo 1 clearly shows a chipping, where the inside of the stone has a lighter color and appears completely dull.




After cutting off the Leemdijkbijl chip, the difference was clearly visible. Dr. ER Groeneveld of the Judicial Laboratory in Rijswijk and Prof. Bosinski both had to admit that a difference had arisen. Drs. Stapert tried to get out of it during the 2nd court hearing by claiming that this was due to dust left behind on the teeing surface and that the dullness would disappear after a few days. Flint consists of silicon dioxide and is so hard that no dust residues could be formed after spalling. The next day during the court hearing, a soapy water test was carried out with soap and water and a brush to ensure that no difference would be seen. According to Dr. Stapert and Prof. Waterbolk, Vermaning would have applied false friction shine and after cleaning, the Leemdijk ax would become dull. However, that test also yielded no results for Stapert. The only thing that was removed was skin fat that had been on the Leemdijk axe. Dr. G. Boom of the University of Groningen and researcher at the Physical Metallurgy laboratory, had discovered little of note in his previous research on the Vermaning artefacts except skin fat on the flint. The research report of Dr. Boom was not introduced by Stapert during the court hearing. The result of that soapy water test is with some certainty that Dr. Stapert's skin fat could no longer be found on that hand axe. By removing the skin fat on the flint tools, Drs. Stapert gambled on a last chance?

Photo a shows scratches on the shiny surface of the Leermdijk ax that were caused by natural sand abrasion. Photo b, the boundary between the old shiny surface of the ax and the fresh fracture surface created by Wouters' deflection. Photos a and b were taken with an electron microscope by G. van Noort.

A reconsideration of Stapert's interpretations at the Hijken site.

The observed concentration and distribution of artefacts in the field near Hijken led Stapert to hypothesize that they may be false and had been deliberately placed in the ground by Tjerk Vermaning, as they did not appear to have been dispersed by solifluction processes. Solifluction processes: are caused by saturation of the soil with water, which causes the soil to lose its cohesion and become liquid. These processes are not equivalent to cryoturbation and often occur in cold mountain areas, but are unlikely at the Hijken site. This makes the argument of Drs. D. Stapert in an article from, Palaeohistoria 28 (1986) pdf. The Admonition stones: some facts and arguments , unlikely. The artifacts would be suspect because they were not subject to solifluction processes during glaciations. Taking into account the Cryoturbation process, spreading of artifacts by Solifluction is not necessary on Hijken. Stapert had observed possible indications of Solifluction when studying sections at the Hijken site. And solifluction processes would have been at work on very gentle slopes. He gives the example of the Middle Palaeolithic site of Mander, where several dozen finds were spread over an area, with a diameter of at least 250 meters. 70 meters higher up the moraine near Mander, artefacts became loose and ended up in a fan shape on the field downslope due to solifluction. The Hijken site has no slopes and is not a moraine location. The Mander artefacts have probably been exposed to specific conditions conducive to the formation of hyalite deposits. In contrast, the Hijken artifacts probably did not experience the same favorable conditions due to the lack of slopes.


Fig.H1. Stapert puts the spade in the ground 180 meters from the original discovery location and finds almost nothing except for a few stones, nevertheless he called the result of the excavation negative. Stapert concluded that, despite the presence of some artefacts, the Hijken discovery site was probably a fraudulent archaeological site because there were no signs of dispersal by solifluction processes, as he had originally hypothesized. Had he dug at the exact location, he would have discovered the concentration of artifacts preserved at the site by cyroturbation.

Solfuction refers to a process in which soil is disturbed by thawing of meltwater with mudflows on slopes, while cyroturbation involves the disturbance of soil by frost action, in which soil material rises or sinks through freezing and thawing.

A conflict during the UNESCO Congress.

Klaas Geertsma of the association Aktieve Praktijk Archeologie Nederland, discovered an interesting detail that Ad Wouter also refers to in his book, "J'Accuse" from 1999.

The whole thing probably started during a UNESCO Congress in Paris in 1972. what happened there between Prof. Waterbolk and   Prof. Bordes We may have to see as the downfall of Vermaning. At that time, age was determined via 14 C dating ( carbon dating ). This is a method of radiometric dating that can be used to determine the age of organic material. The French Professor Bordes had asked Prof. Waterbolk to apply this method. The Netherlands was further ahead in research with the 14 C method than France. The final result that Prof. Waterbolk came up with was different from the level layer from which the organic material had been excavated. Bordes wanted to prove that the Acheulean culture persisted in La Micoque. In contrast to the other cultures in the Mousterian region of France. In 1969, the measurable limits of 14 C dating to 40 to 50 thousand years were possible. With this he embarrassed the French researchers during the conference. It was not smart of Bordes to come up with material older than 50 thousand years that was unsuitable for the 14 C method. If Bordes had taken this into account, another motif might have been playing in the background. And certainly not smart of Waterbolk to make the age estimate public during the conference. That didn't sit well with French professor Bordes. Bordes said at that Congress, "I cannot accept Waterbolk's interpretations, which contradict everything we know from typology, sedimentology and pollen analysis in South-East France."   to which he later added, " It must also be clear once and for all that the development of Paleolithic industry is not one-sided."   And with that he may also be referring to an earlier discussion he had with Waterbolk? (The hand axes of Vermaning van Hoogersmilde in 1969?) He made no secret of this among his fellow archaeologists. According to Waterbolk, Bordes regularly talked about it on several occasions. Waterbolk was very embarrassed by Bordes and reversed Bordes by Waterbolk. Waterbolk was not an excellent specialist in artefacts from the Paleolithic, he was, after all, a biologist. That is why he had asked for Bordes' expertise at the time regarding the Vermaning stones. Waterbolk also went wrong again with the Vermaning case due to the expertise of someone else. Geologist Drs. Stapert was not an excellent specialist in artefacts from the Paleolithic either.

Professor François Bordes.

▲ Seven years later after the UNESCO Congress, in the picture, Professor François Bordes. He looks at a plane from the Middle Paleolithic found by Tjerk Vermaning and explained to Mr. Wouters that the Vermaning artefact with “rounded” ribs could be considered a Middle Palaeolithic artefact with the right typology and technology. Bordes had previously recognized the rounded ribs under the binocular microscope in Middle Palaeolithic remains from northern France. He confirmed this in his letter of November 29. 1980, to Mr. Wouters. Drs. Stapert and Prof. Waterbolk think that the "rounded" ribs are the result of forgery.

Professor Bordes, was a professor of prehistory and quaternary geology at the scientific faculty of Bordeaux. He was known by archaeologists around the world for his knowledge of the artifacts. Bordes had already seen the hand axes of Vermaning in 1969, but did not want to say much about them the first time except for poorly made roundings and hand axes made with a steel hammer. Before the 1972 conference, resentment had already arisen between Prof. Bordes and Prof. Waterbolk about the hand axes. That was in 1969. That story can be read in APAN Extern 7, which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. The flint artifacts from the Northern Netherlands are unique due to Ice Age influences. Even Bordes had eaten too little 'fromage' of that. Prof. Bordes used the UNESCO congress unequivocally to get rid of Waterbolk with the hand axes of Hoogersmilde as his bet. He publicly declared them as forgeries. He could not perform a 14C test himself, so it was obvious that he used the hand axes. Waterbolk's reputation was irrevocably damaged by Bordes.

In 1973, Waterbolk passed off the Vermaning stones as real in several publications. Until two years later in 1975, D. Stapert wanted to obtain his doctorate on the Vermaning stones and saw scratches on the stones as oddities. And thus puts Waterbolk on the wrong track. Waterbolk with its reputation that had already suffered international scratches. Probably couldn't use it for someone else to prove that the Authentic stones are fake. That would really be bad for the reputation. Then he could better declare them false himself. He devised a plot that instructed Dr. Bohmers (he was an Archaeologist at the Biological-Archaeological Institute of the University of Groningen), Ad Wouters, amateur archaeologist and flint specialist, to copy the hand axes and put them in the ground. Tjerk Vermaning is said to have been complicit in this by picking up the stones and selling them. And Bohmers had done that to spite him. Waterbolk had that idea in his head. Farmer Vos later explains that this is impossible in the clay soil of his field, because it was much too hard at the time. “The ground was so hard at that time you couldn't even get a nail into it .” However, Bohmers was no longer working at the Biological Archaeological Institute when the forgery occurred. By honorable discharge in 1965, for possession of a weapon. Bohmers was the man who at the time recognized the Vermaning hand axes as truly authentic Paleolithic hand axes. According to Waterbolk's conspiracy theory, he must have been the mastermind behind the forgeries. Bohmers then responds with, “ You need a certain mentality to try to harm people in this way . ” Waterbolk stuck to his conspiracy theory. To complete the plan, he called in Drs. D. Stapert, from the Biological Archaeological Institute. As a scientific employee, he had discovered the scratches on Vermaning's stones under a microscope. This suited Waterbolk. Arguments arose about differences in color, strange scratches and the fact that the stone types were different the court had to appear. Ten years after Bohmers' dismissal, the newspapers were full of the Vermaning case. Tjerk Vermaning was suspected of being a forger of prehistoric tools and sites and Stapert did not understand how Vermaning kept finding those large numbers of flint tools he thought it was a good argument to substantiate the suspicion.

As an experienced amateur archaeologist, Vermaning knew how and where to look. Vermaning worked carefully to discover the concentrations of artefacts. He visited potato flour factories to find flint artifacts among the potatoes. This is how he found out from which potato field the artefacts came. He continued his search in those potato fields. He also visited the fields where the farmers plowed deeply. And he conducted research into artifacts that had recently emerged from the ground. He looked at the piles of stones that had been thrown along the fields by the farmers after harvesting the potatoes. Professor Waterbolk could only explain the direct hits found by "paranormal gifts" adding . Because he and Stapert thought it was statistically unrealistic. They could not understand Vermaning's working method or had not taken it into account. Vermaning left Prof. Waterbolk in his delusion about the paranormal gifts in the media interviews. And enhanced it with visions of traveling groups of Neanderthals. In retrospect, he should not have done that because Waterbolk loves conspiracy thinking. Vermaning had said this, but the media likes to leave out part of it to keep the article or interview interesting for the public. It is important to place this comment from Vermaning in the context of the entire story.

The Vermaning case had not gone unnoticed in the world of international archaeology. During another conference, the WAC, the world archeology conference in 1986 in Southampton in England, four members of the Active Practice of Archeology Netherlands (APAN) had set up an exhibition with the flint tools from Eemster, found by Tjerk Vermaning. The foreign experts identified these artifacts as authentic prehistoric tools. They did not know that they were pieces from Vermaning. Fig. 3. The APAN members even received handwritten statements from the experts that they are authentic prehistoric tools. When the four APAN members said that they were the Vermaning pieces, the response from some archaeologists was; “oh that's Waterbolk, we don't want to get involved” . They had already been witnesses during the congress or later when Bordes spoke negatively about it. And with that, the entire Dutch archeology had come under the international microscope. Why did Waterbolk and Stapert step on such thin ice to sacrifice Vermaning? The 1972 UNESCO Congress in Paris could possibly have been the cause?
Klaas Geerstma of APAN suspects that the affair did not start because they hated Vemaning, or because they were jealous of him, which seems to be outdated due to the conflict. These causes existed mainly in the rumor circuit. Prof. Waterbolk seemed to be forced to part with the finds, but the exact reason for this remains unclear. For the time being, the conflict between Bordes and Waterbolk seems to be a logical explanation for the beginning of the Vermaning affair, as indicated by Geertsma in the APAN Extern 7. It shows that underlying interests are difficult to understand. In any case, the actual event during and after the conflict during the UNESCO conference sheds new light on the Vermaning affair, which gives food for thought.

UNESCO report 1972, Paris, PDF. 24.6MB.

Controversy surrounding Tjerk Vermaning in 2022.

After the lawsuit, the Vermaning affair took a bizarre turn when Professor Waterbolk continued with allegations in his book "Sharp stones on my path" in 2003. He is writing; that Ad Wouters is a co-suspect. Other names have also emerged. Despite the lack of any evidence that the Vermaning artifacts are fake, there is no end to the affair.

Authors who cast suspicion on Tjerk Vermaning have their own unique perspectives that resonate with part of the audience. The fact that certain ideas, views or perspectives of researchers can be considered unique and original is not always evidence of their value or relevance.

In the recent 2022 publication "Forgery in Rocks", it is claimed that Tjerk Vermaning was involved in the largest archaeological fraud in Dutch history. The research underlying this publication was conducted by various professionals from the archaeological sector, such as Frans de Vries, Lammert Postma, Marcel Niekus, Jan Timmer, Marten Postma and Henk Kars. The methodology, the results and the conclusions are subject to critical comments. The investigation into the alleged archaeological fraud of Tjerk Vermaning is based on empirical research, using observations and analyzes of the stones of Vermaning because they are said to be forgeries. The publication makes extensive use of words and expressions such as "almost", "probably", "presumably" and "reminiscent of", which calls into question the validity of the conclusions. The researchers state that Tjerk Vermaning was involved in forging artifacts and that Ad Wouters may have been the mastermind behind this. However, no concrete evidence is presented showing this. No one was ever caught making those forgeries and planting them in the ground at the crime scene. It also remains a mystery how the large numbers of flint tools varied and how the different Middle Paleolithic authenticity features were created, which would normally take thousands of years.

An imaginative detective plot.

The empirical research was aimed at demonstrating recent forgeries by Tjerk Vermaning, not at discovering the origin of those artefacts from the Paleolithic. When we examine the conclusions, we can counter them with alternative explanations that are logical and plausible. The book's authors act as archaeological detectives and create an imaginative conspiracy story, with Ad Wouters starring as the mastermind. It is important to remain critical and consider alternative explanations and perspectives when assessing such research. In the case of the Vermaning artifacts, the sample was not randomly selected and therefore may not be a good reflection of the entire population that the so-called forgeries are supposed to represent. The Eemster artefacts found by Tjerk Vermaning are in private property and have not been handed over to the team of 'Valsheid in Gesteente' for research. Although sample statistics can be a useful tool for empirical investigation of Vermaning's artifacts, evidence has been sought that only supported their belief of forgeries. To spread claims, even if they seem convincing, it is good to check the facts thoroughly. One of these facts is that Ad Wouters had no contact with Vermaning during the period Hoogersmilde and Hijken in which Vermaning made his discoveries. It is important to remember that science is a constantly evolving process, our knowledge and understanding changes as new discoveries are made and new information becomes available. It is therefore important to be careful when drawing conclusions based on some information, to avoid people being wrongly accused. Observing rocks under a microscope has no direct relationship with identifying or assessing human behavior. These two activities therefore seem difficult to connect.
Amateur archaeologist, Ad Wouters.

In this case, the use of methods, such as studying rocks under a microscope, to create perpetrator profiles is based on suspicion. How the perpetrators would have acted in the authors' minds is illustrated using various fictional scenarios with suggestions. The authors of the book "Forgery in Rocks" try to make it plausible that Ad Wouters may have tampered with the tools for Tjerk Vermaning. Leo Verhart, who has worked at renowned museums such as the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and the Limburgs Museum in Venlo, argued in the magazine Archeology in the Netherlands of September 2022 that Ad Wouters could not have been involved in the forgeries. He also bases his argument on various factors that argue for Wouters' innocence. Ad Wouters only had contact with Tjerk Vermaning from 1971 onwards. And that contact was only after the finds by Hoogersmilde and Hijken. There was no collaboration or contact at all at that time. In addition, Ad Wouters' health had deteriorated sharply during that period. Wouters only returned to archeology in 1975, after news of the Vermaning judgment and later in 1977 to help Vermaning in the criminal judgment case. Ad Wouters only had superficial, sporadic contact with Vermaning for the first time in 1971, the period before that he knew little about Vermaning and his finds. The amateur archaeologists Musch and Horn had approached Professor Glasbergen at the time to take up the defense in the lawsuit against Vermaning, but Professor Glasbergen was unable to do so due to health reasons. Professor Glasbergen advised them to contact Ad Wouters to take over the case. Curious about the accusations of forgery, partly due to the reports in the newspapers, Ad Wouters only then decided to contact Vermaning. The finds by Hoogersmilde and Hijken were made long before that time in 1965 and 1967, when Wouters had no contact with Vermaning. Vermaning had no car and no way to collect the southern flint in large quantities 100 kilometers away. Tjerk Vermaning only had a moped, making it unlikely that he was able to collect hundreds and kilos of flint over long distances down the rivers in the south of the country. Moreover, this would have been a lengthy and time-consuming process. Researchers point out that the flint types are believed to have come from the southern Netherlands, suggesting that the finds may be forgeries. Wouters is said to have been involved in the finds at Eemster1 in 1972. But what about those finds from before 1972? The motive why Ad Wouters traded in stones is incorrect. In reality, he was never attached to his finds, nor to money. He gave away countless masterpieces to his friends and to antiquities chambers, without expecting anything in return.

Bohmers already responded to the accusations in 1977: “You need a certain mentality to try to harm people in this way.”
And Bohmers, he was suspended in 1965 one day after the discoveries of Hoogersmilde. He had no motive to take revenge with Hoogersmilde's finds. He resigned after the suspension with an honorable discharge at his own request for another reason. An investigation by A. Carmiggelt, Head of the Antiquities Research Bureau at the Municipality of Rotterdam (BOOR), shows that the involvement of Bohmers is unlikely. On January 27, 1965, Bohmers visits Vermaning in his houseboat to view the spectacular finds from Hoogersmilde for the first time. He does this together with van der Waals, who was then a curator at the Drents Museum and a good acquaintance of Vermaning. However, during the same period Bohmers was discredited for another reason and he was suspended and eventually resigned in 1966. Ten years after Bohmers' departure, the accusation came that the artifacts were fake. In the 2019 dissertation "Secrecy is his fortress", AH Carmiggelt describes why it is unlikely that Bohmers is a suspect. Ad Wouters took on the role of defending Vermaning during the lawsuit because there were no professional archaeologists who wanted to contribute to the case as experts. Through his determination and solidarity to defend Vermaning, even without support from professional archaeologists, Wouters played a crucial role in this case. As a result, Wouters himself became the subject of controversy and investigation after the trial. Ad Wouters' efforts demonstrate courage, empathy and a strong sense of justice. It is an act that deserves to be recognized and appreciated. Professional archaeologists do not have exclusive ownership of archaeological knowledge when they draw up perpetrator profiles and try to avoid a discussion. After the book's publication, the authors avoided any discussion with the APAN defenders of Vermaning in 2022. This shows how wide the gap has become between these professional archaeologists and the APAN amateur archaeologists. The researchers and authors call the book a scientific publication. Whether Wouters' accusation can be regarded as scientific is subject to comment. No known international foreign expert has also been brought in for the investigation.

In June 1977 the accusation against Tjerk Vermaning started. The investigation's follow-up of the affair in 2022 confirms that Vermaning has not been forgotten. From the APAN publications it can be seen that it is not objectionable to examine its artefacts under the electron microscope, as discussion is necessary to move forward, but it can be questioned. The discussion among the APAN archaeologists is due to the unfounded suspicion without proof of forgeries by Wouters and Vermaning in the act. They are conjectures. It is therefore important to find the right balance here.

Critical analysis of the research into the Vermaning stones.

The book "Falsity in Gesteente" claims that Tjerk Vermaning's stones are fake, and it also provides specific images, text and explanations to support this claim. Page 217 of the book shows the images that are intended to show that the stones may not be authentic. In the book, the presence of iron infiltration is described as inguinal corridor, but this is an incorrect description and misinterpretation of stone infiltration.


Substantiating perpetrator profiles in a publication requires the necessary caution to avoid misleading. In petrology it is known that Liese corridors are not iron infiltrations, which arise in boulder sand and boulder clay soils. Liesegangs refers to a phenomenon in chemistry in which patterns of precipitation form in a gel, solute or solid as a result of the diffusion process. Iron infiltration, on the other hand, refers to the process by which iron particles penetrate into a material, such as soil. This can result in corrosion, changes in the structure of the material and ultimately damage or degradation. Although both processes can be characterized by some form of patterning, inguinal corridor and iron infiltration are fundamentally different and cannot be used synonymously. Iron infiltration refers to the process by which ferrous water seeps through the pores of flint, leaving behind small iron eels. This can result in thin, rust-colored lines, circles or spots in the flint. Liese courses, also known as ringlets or bands, are concentric colorful patterns that form in the flint layers. These patterns are caused by various chemical reactions, such as oxidation and precipitation of minerals, that occur during the formation and lithification of the flint. Liese courses can vary in color and thickness and can form very complex and beautiful patterns in the flint. See Figure 4. In Petrology, a branch of geology dedicated to investigating the composition and formation conditions of rocks, groin rings and groin bandings are considered intriguing patterns that formed simultaneously with the formation of flint. These inguinal ganglion rings were already present in the flint before artifacts were formed by Neanderthals.


Iron transported by the ice sheets usually consists of iron-rich minerals, such as hematite, magnetite and sederite, that occurred in the deposits of the glaciers. In this way the iron ended up on the Frisian-Drentse boulder clay plateau. This allowed iron deposits to arise due to the precipitation of iron compounds from water. See fig. 8. The ironstone sometimes came into contact with the flint. Figure 7 shows iron particles that have settled in the flint. The photo is a flint tool found by Tjerk Vermaning. Recently made flint tools that have been put in the ground and taken out again cannot receive such iron infiltrations in the short term. Particle iron infiltrations are not necessary for the authenticity of flint tools. Such iron particles as the ones in image 7 of the Vermaning artefact found usually need about ten years to adhere.

In the Netherlands, Iron Er is mainly found in the soil as iron-containing nodules and small particles in concretions. Fig. 8. The Iron Age consists partly of iron and sand, which is composed of the minerals limonite or goethite. IJzeroer originated in our soil. This mainly happened during the humid climate of the warm interglacials, but the formation of iron deposits in Dutch soil continues to this day. The formation of an Iron Age only needs to take a few decades.


In the north of the Netherlands, the soil was subject to drastic changes during the Ice Age. During the Ice Age, very old artifacts were transported through the ice sheets to the moraines. Subsequently, meltwater rivers washed away soil layers, and boulder clay soils that were brought in by the ice caps came to the surface and old cover sand layers were washed away by meltwater rivers and formed again. During that period of approximately 300,000 years, Neanderthals had a variable presence in this area. Artifacts may have been left behind in all these varying periods and not under the same conditions of climate, vegetation and soil surface. The shifts in the soil, the surface and the changes in the landscape have ensured that the conditions in which artefacts have been left behind vary. This makes it difficult to make empirically and statistically reliable comparisons with what we know about it so far.

Without clarity about the migration patterns of Neanderthals in the Netherlands during those 300,000 years, it is difficult to determine how and when the flint tools were spread. If we don't know why and when Neanderthals were present in the Northern Netherlands during those 300,000 years, it is narrow-minded to assume that they could not have spread exotic flint. Empirical research under an electron microscope might not provide sufficient evidence. The lack of knowledge about migration patterns and presence of Neanderthals in the Northern Netherlands can complicate the interpretation of archaeological finds. The flint types found at the Vermaning sites provide an insight into possible migration patterns by tracing flints originating from river deposits or elsewhere in the country. It is scientifically unwise to exclude these exotic flint types from the Vermaning sites and dismiss them as spurious, as this closes the door to further research opportunities. The fact that professional archaeologists have dismissed flint types at the Vermaning sites as fake points to the impact that the accusations of forgery by Tjerk Vermaning have had on the field of archeology in the Netherlands.

The phenomenal accusations can be refuted and substantiated. With concrete evidence, logical argumentation and hypothesis that expose the contradictions and flaws in the accusations.

The disappearance of windlac sheen on flint artefacts under the influence of natural processes. The windlac sheen on flint artefacts can disappear due to erosive processes involving sand and dust.

Research shows that windlac sheen is not necessary for authentic artifacts. The formation of windlacquer patina by wind with sand acts as an "abrasive" that slowly shaves and smoothes the flint. However, doubts have arisen about the formation of wind varnish and the influence of climatic conditions. Due to the influence of sandstorms, the flint can become dull instead of polished. The pressure of cover sand on buried artifacts can lead to dullness and pitting, depending on the volume of sand. These natural processes affect the luster of flint artifacts.

The fact that most Middle Palaeolithic surface discoveries in the Northern Netherlands were made on the sedimentary package above the boulder clay, especially on or in the cover sand, is a one-sided approach. This finding suggests that iron-containing water could flow more favorably into the cover sand, causing iron to concentrate more in the cover sand and penetrate less to deeper layers. The flint tools are therefore characterized by iron infiltration, brown patina and iron adhesion. Concluding that the Admonition artifacts that are not so marked are false is incorrect. When the ice caps retreated during the last ice age, the climate in Europe warmed. Hunting prey migrated to colder areas in the north. The woolly mammoth and other animals with thick fur sought out those colder areas and Neanderthals were forced to follow their prey to survive. After the retreat of the ice caps in the northern Netherlands, boulder sand was left behind. Neanderthals lived on the soil beginning in the Eemian. The Vermaning finds were therefore found in its remnant, the boulder sand. It also contains the in situ settlements of the Neanderthal. The best known are Hoogersmilde, Hijken, Eemster and Schuilenburg. The well-known hand ax 'het Oog' comes from the Ravenswoud area. The Wâld group comes from North Burgum and the surrounding area, within which a joint of eleven pieces has been reconstructed. A site of this culture has also been discovered near Bakkeveen. Not all artefacts were initially in contact with cover sand during those 300,000 years.

The cryoturbation process has played an important role in the preservation and depth of the flint artifacts in Hoogersmilde, Hijken and Eemster.

Cyroturbation is the process in which soil layers are disturbed by freezing and thawing in, among other things, boulder clay soils. Repeated cycles of freezing and thawing can push rocks in the boulder clay to the surface and down. The freezing and thawing of soils in boulder clay areas has helped preserve artifacts left at their original location. Due to the subsidence due to cyroturbation, the artifacts at the permafrost depth were encapsulated by the freezing of permafrost layer. In that situation, the artifacts could not become spread and shift over large distances. The permafrost in this region may have been at great depths. It is likely that the artefacts of Hijken, Hoogersmilde and Eemster were damaged during this period by the movement of the ground as a result of sinking to depth through cyroturbation. Due to the high hardness and resistance of flint to erosion, rounded ribs and scratches were formed on the rock. Because the sand movement was probably not that great at that time due to sparse vegetation, the artefacts on the surface of the Vermaning sites could have been moved directly into the boulder clay soil where they were left during the thaw-freeze cycle. In later periods, sandstorms increasingly influenced the surface of the boulder clay, causing large parts of the surface to become covered with cover sand.

Eemster 1972/82-A-B.

The images Eemster 1972 and 1982 show two parts that were found independently of each other at the Eemster site. It is striking that part A from 1972, the cortex is colored brown by iron influences and part B from 1982, the white cortex was less influenced in the soil. Part A has probably become more weathered due to the cyroturbation process with rounded ribs, while part B has remained more or less sharp and the cortex is still more or less white. Both parts fit together in a stone composition. The difference is caused by the cyroturbation in which both parts have sunk independently under cyroturbation in the soil during weathering and wear and infiltration and have lain for a very long time. It is clear evidence that Tjerk Vermaning could not have falsified these differences. Exit part B was only found in the field 10 years later in 1982. Is it likely that a counterfeiter would create such inconsistent traces of iron in the cortex layer?


During that glacial period, the average annual temperature was many times lower than the current annual temperature. With periods of possible -30 degrees at night. As a result of these low temperatures, the ground was frozen for large parts of the year. The fortress caused shrinkage cracks in the ground. Only during the short heat in summer did the ground above the permaforest layer thaw. causing movement in the ground and shifting the artifacts. The continuously frozen subsoil that freezes further in very cold seasons is called permafrost. The artifacts were incorporated into the growing permafrost layer and the summers were not warm enough to thaw the permafrost layer.
Eemster 1972 and 1982.

After the retreat of the ice caps, the boulder clay soil had a low acidity. The Eemster artefacts were left by Neanderthals on a not strongly acidified boulder clay surface, due to the sparse vegetation during that glacial period. At the beginning of the Weichselian, the sand drifts were mainly local in nature because the vegetation present hindered the large-scale movement of sand. The small discoid ax excavated from Eemster2 shows a layer of calcite (Cortex layer) with iron infiltration. Fig. E2. The iron infiltration in the calcite crust may have occurred during and subsidence in the permaforst layer by cyroturbation. According to the researchers of "Falsity in Gesteente" a calcite layer should disappear after a few thousand years, dissolved in the soil. However, due to the lack of soil acidification, it is more likely that cyroturbation has preserved the artefact with the calcite layer in the permaforest layer of the Eemster site. Only an acidic soil can lead to the dissolution of calcite and prevent the formation of hyalite, while a neutral to slightly alkaline soil usually has no influence on the calcite crust on flint. There may have been no influence of acidified boulder clay on the Eemster site when the Neanderthals left their artefacts behind. As the artifacts settled into the permafrost layer, many thousands of years passed as the soil gradually acidified from above due to the increase in vegetation. In general, acidification can penetrate several centimeters to even several meters deep. Boulder clay is generally a compact and dense soil with a high degree of impermeability, making it less susceptible to deep penetration of acidification caused by organic matter and acid rain compared to more porous and permeable soil types. This means that it is quite possible that the artefacts located at a depth of 70 cm were not affected by acidification of the soil. If the artifacts are encapsulated in the permafrost, this can prevent the formation of hyalite deposits. Permafrost is the persistent freezing of the soil and it contains little to no liquid water. However, silica solutions require water to react and form hyalite deposits. Since permafrost keeps the ground completely frozen, little to no water is available for the reaction required to form hyalite deposits on flint. Although the wind varnish theory is no longer tenable, during that period cover sand may have been very scarce and only in local areas, meaning that wind varnish could not have formed on flint due to sand storms.

The specific geological and chemical conditions on the Drenthe Keileem Plateau have influenced the absence of hyalite on flint artefacts found here.

The complex interaction between the mineral composition, chemical processes and geological history of flint in different areas emphasizes that hyalite formation is a varied and context-dependent process. The possibility (or impossibility) of hyalite formation on flint in the Northern Netherlands illustrates the nuances and diversity of geological processes and chemical processes in soils and emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach when studying the past.
The deposit of a chalcedony layer (hyalite) can be microscopically thin, as thick as 0.4 mm, and often exhibits a transparent property. The gloss patina formed by the chalcedony layer is not a product of oxidation due to exposure to the ambient air with sand (the so-called "wind varnish").

Accusation of false friction shine on the artefacts of Tjerk Vermaning.

Tjerk Vermaning was accused of artificially applying "false" friction gloss to artifacts. By "false" friction gloss it is meant that Vermaning had applied a glossy appearance to the flint artifacts to make them appear older than they actually were. He is said to have done this by chemical treatments, such as the use of nitric acid. A friction shine on flint artifacts is a characteristic shine resulting from the use of the artifact such as by the Neanderthals. Flint is a hard rock that is widely used to make tools, weapons and other objects. When flint is rubbed against another hard surface, such as leather, wood or bone, it creates a friction sheen on the flint surface. The friction between the two surfaces creates energy and heat, which causes microscopic fibers or particles of the flint to melt and then recrystallize.

It was shown at trial that no "false" friction gloss had been applied. In the research report by Dr. G. Boom from 1975, he writes that the artificially applied shine has been analyzed as skin fat. Yet another explanation is that silt and organic substances such as humus can cause a shiny layer on flints in boulder clay and boulder sand. This is because the particles are fine enough to penetrate small cracks and pores in the stone. When this remains on and in the tiny surface cracks of the stone and the stone is exposed to rainwater or damp conditions, it can harden and form a smooth patina surface. After cleaning this organic layer, artifacts can no longer be properly examined to determine their original context and the organic luster may have been removed. Water and soap cannot always completely remove all remains of loam and silt. A test carried out by A. Wouters showed that after cleaning the Eemster artefact E.82-D, a loamy matrix was still visible on the flint tool in the negatives and waves.

The friction sheen of Paleolithic flint artefacts may also disappear over time when preserved in and on the soil surface. This process is known as "dulling" or the "greying" of flint. There are several archaeological excavation sites worldwide where flint artefacts have been found that have suffered from fading or 'dulling' causing a loss of friction shine. A well-known example is the archaeological site Schöningen in Germany, just across the border with the Netherlands. Numerous flint artefacts have been found here which, due to long exposure to the elements and physical interaction with the environment, have suffered fading and loss of luster. The site in Schöningen is known for its finds from the Middle Palaeolithic, specifically belonging to the so-called Clactonian and Levalloisien complex.


The photo EE.72-256 taken by A. Wouters in 1982 shows friction shine on the rounded ribs of the artifact, found by Tjerk Vermaning near Eemster. This frictional shine serves as evidence for the authenticity of a Middle Paleolithic tool. The different degrees or intensities of frictional gloss that can be observed on Vermaning artifacts depend on the specific conditions of preservation and the environment in which they were found.

The mobility and hunting patterns of Neanderthals in the Netherlands may have been influenced by the availability of flint deposits.


Neanderthals brought various types of flint during their migrations to the Frisian-Drents boulder clay plateau. The possibility that Neanderthals could have obtained these exotic types of flint from nearby outcrops, such as those from the Rhine deposits, speaks against the idea that these artifacts found in the Northern Netherlands are necessarily forgeries.

After the reclamation of the northeast polder, the boulder clay reserve near Urk visibly surfaced again, providing an image of the boulder clay soils where Neanderthals could collect their flint in the outcrop of the old river deposits near Urk. Photo k1 the boulder clay reserve vd Lijn near Urk, 1977. The boulder clay reserve contains various flint types, including those from Northern France, the Meuse basin and the region around Paris, which could be deposited via river deposits to the Urk region in the Middle Pleistocene. The boulder clay reserve near Urk was not accessible to the public in the 1960s and 1970s. The reserve was protected at the time because of its unique natural value and to prevent disturbance of the area. Visitors were not allowed to enter the area to protect the flora and fauna. The fact that Tjerk Vermaning only had a moped as a means of transport means that he was probably not able to transport large quantities of rock from the boulder clay reserve. The distance and abundance of different types of flint make it impossible that he could have collected them from the boulder clay reserve. It would also take a lot of time and be conspicuous to collect suitable rock in a protected nature reserve.

The isotope mass spectrometry analysis on the flint artefacts from Tjerk Vermaning has partly helped determine their origin. The results of that research showed that the flint types came from different areas in Europe. This does not suggest that Vermaning may have been trading and collecting flint from different regions for the production of his artefacts. There is some evidence to suggest that Neanderthals had some degree of migration patterns, although the exact details are not yet fully known. Archaeological evidence, such as tools found at various locations, indicates that Neanderthals moved across their habitats. It also appears that Neanderthals tended to use specific areas for specific activities, such as hunting, slaughter, and resource gathering. These locations may have been visited repeatedly. The patterns can vary depending on several factors, such as climatic changes, resource availability and seasonal migrations of prey. A 2019 study published in the journal PLOS ONE analyzed Neanderthal footprints found at Le Rozel in France. By studying the size and distribution of the footprints, the researchers were able to estimate how fast and how far the Neanderthals walked. They found that Neanderthals were able to reach fairly high speeds, possibly covering distances of up to 30 kilometers per day. The research into Neanderthal footprints found in Le Rozel, France, was carried out by a team of archaeologists led by Jérémy Duveau from the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) in France. These archaeologists worked with experts in paleontology and geology to analyze and date the footprints. The mobility of Neanderthals allowed them to travel great distances to obtain flint elsewhere. And undoubtedly influenced their hunting patterns and cultural development in this area. These flint resources from the river deposits could be reached at nomadic distances from the Drenthe-Fries area. Neanderthals may also have searched for flint deposits on the surface of the boulder clay reserve near Urk. These flint types correspond to the Vermaning finds.

Artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic have also been found in northern Germany and, remarkably, many of these artifacts bear similarities to those of Tjerk Vermaning. These artifacts sometimes have dull, little to no luster, rounded ribs and are made from other flint types.

A large number of the hand axes found on the surface by Tjerk Vermaning show postal and depositional damage. The artifacts exhibit potlids, pressure cones, pits, scratches, cracks, rounded ribs, and other features. All this indicates that the artefacts show all the characteristics of authentic flint tools from the Middle Paleolithic. Such features can only arise through the passage of many thousands of years.

Discolorations: Flint can show discolorations as a result of secondary minerals. These minerals can enter the rock in various ways, such as through infiltrating water containing iron or other contaminants. These discolorations can cause color variations in the flint.
Fractures and fissures: Various geological processes can cause fractures and fissures in flint. These can be caused by tensions in the earth's crust, erosion or other forces that affect the rock. These fractures and fissures can affect the quality and usability of flint as a material.
Cavities and porosity: During the formation and subsequent diagenesis of flint, cavities and porosity can develop. These can be filled with minerals or other materials, such as lime. These voids and porosity can affect the properties of flint, such as its strength and density.

Discovery of a Potential Neanderthal Encampment in Schuilenburg Quarry. A middle Paleolithic site, on the Drenthe-Frisian boulder clay plateau.

In the early 1980s, amateur archaeologists Peter Mekkes and his wife visited the Schuilenburg quarry and suspected they had discovered a Middle Palaeolithic site in the quarry. These finds were shown to archaeologist Jan Evert Musch, who confirmed this finding. The Geertsma brothers came into contact with Musch and received his advice to explore the Schuilenburg quarry near the Frisian village of Eastermar (Oostermeer). Henk Geertsma, who lives in Broeksterwoude, soon returned with a box full of finds, including two beautiful 'Smilder strikers'. This discovery confirmed the suspicion of Middle Palaeolithic finds, dating from the Eemian or immediately afterwards, and could mean a breakthrough in the Vermaning case. Although no clear bifaces have yet been found in Schuilenburg, the date could be Middle Paleolithic due to the soil layer in which they were found. The idea of ​​a subculture within this long time span without hand axes, but with many planes, was considered. The idea of ​​a Neanderthal residence on site caused excitement during the determination. Due to the quantity of finds and their 'fresh' character.

A makeshift tent was set up at the site with cover sand to prevent snow and rain from disrupting the excavation. A large area had been cleared and even more artefacts were discovered in the boulder sand layer below. The finds were localized to a specific part of the scraped surface, which appeared to be an original site of a possible Neanderthal encampment. This led to finds, including two beautiful 'Smilder spires', named after the site in Smilde as described by Vermaning. This allowed the dating of the finds to be determined more accurately, as from the Middle Paleolithic, Eemian period or shortly afterwards. This was an important breakthrough in the Vermaning case, which both he and others were hopeful about after seeing the two strikers. Tjerk Vermaning was emotional when he heard this news. It was noticed that the artefacts were spread out in an oval circle, suggesting that it could possibly be a Neanderthal hut. An excavation was planned and carried out in the winter of 1988/'89. The excavation lasted three weeks with research by the National Department of Archaeological Soil Research led by Professor Dr. Henk Kars. There was hope for a breakthrough in research into the Middle Palaeolithic. The term 'incerto facto', indicating the limited knowledge, was expressed during a visit to the Schuilenburg excavation in 1988. This calmed the excitement. On that day, December 15, during the visit of a paleoexpert to the Schuilenburg excavation, it was clear that the expert, who was known for his extensive knowledge, had to give in to his own limited knowledge. This moment opened the eyes of everyone involved as APAN amateur archaeologists in the excavation. The fact that even the most learned people in the archeology of the Netherlands still have a lot to learn resulted in a disappointment. And with that, this site was also written off as evidence of the presence of a Neanderthal camp in Schuilenburg. For Tjerk Vermaning, the discovery and recognition of a Neanderthal camp at that location could mean a lot, given the similarities of the artifacts he had found.