Jaroslav Kraft

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Jaroslav Kraft
Doc. RNDr. Jaroslav Kraft in the field
Born (1940-04-09)April 9, 1940
Died January 10, 2007(2007-01-10) (aged 66)
Fields Paleontology
Alma mater Charles University, Prague

Doc. RNDr. Jaroslav Kraft, CSc. (April 9, 1940 – January 10, 2007) was internationally recognised Czech palaeontologist and a prominent specialist in Ordovician dendroid graptolites.


Doc. RNDr. Jaroslav Kraft, CSc. was born in family of a bookbinder and enthusiastic fossil collector Jan Kraft. After finishing his study at the Charles University, Prague, J. Kraft took place of a geologist at the Geologický průzkum Praha enterprise („Geological exploration“), branch Stříbro, following an administrative allocation. During the years 1965–1974 he worked as a research assistant in the Museum of Western Bohemia (Západočeské muzeum).
In 1974 he worked in the n. p. Geindustria Praha company as geologist, position where he worked till 1980.
For a short period from 1980 to 1981 he worked in the section of Collections at the Central Geological Institute (now Czech Geological Survey). During the years 1982–1988 he worked as geologist and palaeontologist in the County branch of the State Institution for Cultural Heritage and Nature Conservation in Plzeň. In the Dr. Bohuslav Horák Museum, Rokycany, he worked as an external specialist during the years 1963–1988 and from 1988 till 1994 as internal curator. J. Kraft held a high esteem of the personality of Dr. B. Horák, a situation, which motivated his activities.
J. Kraft vindicated his RNDr. degree in 1973 and after prolonged delays due to political reasons he attained CSc. degree in 1984.

J. Kraft was appointed Assistant Professor at the [1] University of Western Bohemia in Plzeň in 1998, though he acted at this university as external assistant since 1994. The above information shows that J. Kraft took and changed numerous employments during his life. The main reason behind this development was the obvious fact that the communist regime considered J. Kraft a politically unreliable person, as he actively practiced Protestant religion.

Though for much of his life J. Kraft experienced harsh treatment by the political and state administration, he achieved numerous satisfying highlights and a positive feeling of professional success. Besides publication of numerous and important palaeontology papers, J. Kraft significantly contributed to improving the professional standards of the Dr. B. Horák Museum in Rokycany. It was mainly his major contribution in meticulous and highly professional curatorial documentation and processing of palaeontological collections, including computer documentation, which altogether made the funds of the local museum one of the most important collections of Ordovician fossil on worldwide scale.

It was an unfortunate development that after many years of works in the Rokycany museum, J. Kraft had to resign the post of curator. Even after leaving his post, J. Kraft tried intensively to secure a professional curator for the palaeontological collections, but this activity remained without success. After coming back to collections of the Museum of Western Bohemia in Plzeň, J. Kraft continued his activities of a prominent curator and palaeontologist. For numerous younger palaeontologists, visits in the palaeontology department in the Plzeň or Rokycany museums were pleasant occasions to enjoy calm but optimistic personality of J. Kraft, his sense of humour and empathy extended to colleagues.

It was perhaps sometimes with a grain of envy to observe that Jaroslav Kraft found in his son Petr a competent collaborator. Later on, the duo Kraft & Kraft co-authored several dozen publications in refereed Czech and international journals. The two palaeontologists, jointly with some other colleagues, became a notably productive team, which successfully completed a large project on Ordovician in Bohemia as an international standard for the Mediterranean region. In addition, Jaroslav and Petr Kraft, with colleagues from Prague, organised in 1999 a highly successful 9th ISOS conference (International Symposium on Ordovician System) in Prague. J. Kraft dedicated much of his activities to establishing protection status for numerous important palaeontological and geological localities in Plzeň and Rokycany areas.


Doc. J. Kraft published more than one hundred professional papers. The following brief list is but a sampling of papers from later period:

  • Kraft J. (1975): Dendroid graptolites of the Ordovician of Bohemia. Sbor. Nár. Muz. (Praha), Ř. B 31, 211–238.
  • Kraft J., Kraft P. (1993): The Arenig/Llanvirn boundary (Ordovician) in the Prague Basin (Bohemia). J. Czech Geol. Soc. 38, 3/4, 189–192.
  • Kraft J., Kraft P. (1994): The Azygograptus ellesi – Tetragraptus (reclinatus group) Biozone (Klabava Formation, Ordovician of the Prague Basin). Folia Mus. Rer. Natur. Bohem. Occident., Geol. 40, 1–36.
  • Kraft J., Kraft P., Seidl R. (1993): New dendroid graptolites from the Lower Ordovician of Bohemia. J. Czech Geol. Soc. 38, 1–2, 89–94.
  • Kraft, J., Kraft, P. (2000): Das untere Ordovicium bei Rokycany, Tschechische Republik – In: Pinna, G. – Meischner, D (eds.): Europäische Fossillagerstätten. – EPA, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 24–27, 243, obr. 4–9.
  • Kraft, P., Kraft, J., Prokop, R. J. (2001): A possible hydroid from the Lower and Middle Ordovician of Bohemia. – Alcheringa, 25: 143–154.
  • Kraft, P., Kraft, J. (2003): Middle Ordovician graptolite fauna from Praha – Cervený vrch (Prague Basin, Czech Republic. – Bulletin of Geosciences, 78(2): 129–139.
  • Kraft, P., Kraft, J. (2003): Facies of the Klabava Formation (?Tremadoc – Arenig) and their fossil content (Barrandian area, Czech Republic). – In: Albanesi, G. L., Beresi, M. S., Peralta, S. H. (eds.): Ordovician from the Andes. – INSUGEO, Serie Correlación Geológica, 17: 309–314.
  • Kraft, P., Kraft, J., Marek, J., Seidl, R. (2001): Graptolitová fauna zóny Didymograptus clavulus (šárecké souvrství) ordoviku pražské pánve. – Zprávy o geologických výzkumech v roce 2000, Ces. geol. Úst.: 32–35.


Budil, P. – Fatka, O. (2009): Jaroslav Kraft died. Bulletin of Geosciences 84, 1, 1–5. [2] Budil, P. (2008): Doc. RNDr. Jaroslav Kraft, CSc. In Budil, P. – Fatka, O. – Pšenička, J. (eds) Palaeontological workshop held in honour of Doc. RNDr. JAROSLAV KRAFT, CSc.(9. 4. 1940 – 10. 1. 2007), Plzeň, 17 th and 18 November 2008, pp. 1–3. Published by Czech Geological Society, ISBN 978-80-904208-1-6

Czech version of this page is available on cs:Jaroslav Kraft
An obituary of Doc. J. Kraft has been also published (in Czech) in the Zpravodaj 5/2007 of the Czech Geological Society