Author’s Note 1/22/2019: I wrote this in 2006, probably the night I saw news outlets like BBC, AP, and ABC’s Nightline carry this story about Bosnia’s Pyramid. Still an undergraduate student of archaeology, I found the prospect fascinating. If you read later blog entries and articles here on The Archaeology Review you’ll see that I quickly discovered Semir Osmanagic was engaged in (and still is as of 2019) a grand, pseudoarchaeological hoax. News media quickly retracted their support of the notion, abandoning Osmanagic to the underbellies of social media mired in conspiracies of ancient aliens, nephilim, and annunaki.
But, for me, this was perhaps one of my larger wake-up calls. A turning point for this blog to begin its focus on fake, fraudulent, and fantastic archaeology in modern times.
Click the Bosnian Pyramid tag at the bottom of this post to read more.
Pyramids in Bosnia
A Bosnian-American archeologist, Semir (Sam) Osmanagic, has begun a project to explore a 2,120 foot triangular mound in Visoko. The mound is called Visocica by the locals and excavations have uncovered what appears to be a network of human built tunnels.
The pyramid has been dubbed, “Bosanska Piramida Sunca (Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun) because of its similarity to the Pyramid of the Sun in the Teotihuacan Valley. Indeed, there are two other, smaller, pyramids, Moon and Dragon, which are linked by the team to the first and revealed by satellite and thermal imaging.
The Bosnian Pyramid website has numerous photographs and updates and includes the following:
“The hill is constructed using sandstone slabs that are buried 17 feet below the surface. Sandstone is not indigenous to the area, therefore the slabs had to have been moved to this spot.
“The shape of Visocica Hill is consistent with that of a pyramid, having four identical sides, with the exception of the front side which accesses a plateau. Nature does not make correct geometrical shapes like this and the rocks could not have been formed in this pattern by natural forces
“It is interesting that the blocks are covered with moss and so remain intact. Two blocks were discovered during the excavation we carried out and we can clearly see the sides of the two blocks and the area where they were joined together. We have done more cleaning on these joints and found that the sides between the joins are very finely ground.
Whenever I read or hear the words, “nature does not make correct geometrical shapes” I’m immediately skeptical, since this has echoes of Bimini Roads or Yonaguni, where natural geology has mystery-mongers and significance-junkies convinced that a civilization flourished over 8,000 years ago to create monumental architecture that rivals that of Egypt.
Still, Osmanagic appears to have documented a fair bit of evidence that the site was certainly used by man. Whether it was entirely constructed or simply a set of natural features that were modified remains to be seen. I’m hopeful that this turns out to be a civilization that built architecture similar to that of Mesoamericans, since this could open a whole new field of study in archeology.
Coturnix at Science & Politics has a great entry on this topic.
Before you get carried away with this story, have a look at Archaeology magazine’s online feature about it. Somehow, the principal mystery seems to be how anyone fell for this in the first place!
Keith is exactly right… carried away is what I was prepared to be. Stories about this “pyramid” appeared in various media outlets like BBC, Yahoo!, Fox News, MSNBC, etc. I don’t know if they carried the stories on their television outlets, but I seem to recall mention of it on CNN.
The story isn’t “pyramids in Bosnia,” its “how the media was duped.”
My instinct was to be very skeptical, but since the initial story was emailed to me from a friend, and it even made my university’s anthropology list-serve, I was hesitant to offer more than a couple of skeptical observations, such as the comment about geometrical shapes in nature above.
Thanks, Keith, for linking to the Archaeology Magazine article and setting me straight!
I think I must dissapoint someone. Egyptian expert was examined yesterday matariel of the blocks founded on Visocica hill. After 15 minutes he said, that matarial is the same like on pyramids in Egypt. So it seem we will must correct history books in some area?
Which “Egyptian expert?” And in which peer-reviewed publication might one find his conclusions?