11 June 2006
Bosnian 'pyramid' created by nature, says archaeologist
A British archaeologist rejected claims that a hill in central Bosnia is a man-made structure that many local residents insist is a pyramid. Professor Anthony Harding, who is president of the European Association of Archaeologists, visited Visocica hill and said the formation was natural. "Not any evidence at all has been found" to support the claim the site would be an archaeological site, he said. No pyramids are known in Europe, and there are no records of any ancient civilization on the continent ever attempting to build one.
The pyramid theory was launched by an amateur researcher last year but it has been disputed by a number of local and international experts, who claim that at no time in Bosnia's history did the region have a civilization able to build monumental structures. They say the hill is simply a strange natural formation. Nevertheless, Semir Osmanagic, the amateur Bosnian archaeologist who has been investigating Latin American pyramids for 15 years, organized excavations to Visocica, about 20 miles northwest of Sarajevo, in April.
His team, made up mostly of volunteers, found that the 2,120-foot hill has 45-degree slopes pointing toward the cardinal points and a flat top. Under layers of dirt, workers discovered a paved entrance plateau, entrances to tunnels and large stone blocks.
Egyptian geologist Aly Abd Alla Barakat, who arrived in May to check on Osmanagic's claims said the structure is 'man made' and worth investigating.
However, Harding, who said he visited the site briefly and looked at the same stone blocks Barakat said were man made, said they were a natural formation. "I've seen the site, in my opinion it is entirely natural," he told reporters in Sarajevo. "Further work of the same kind would simply produce the same results. I don't think it would change any view about what the nature of the hill is," he added. Barakat said the sides of the hill were 'precisely oriented' towards the four points of the compass and that stone slabs discovered at the site had been 'polished by man'. "The white stuff I found between the blocks could be a glue. It is very similar to that we have found in the Giza pyramids," he said.
Harding did not visit other sites in the area which Osmanagic and Barakat say are further evidence of the existence of pyramids in Bosnia, such as a tunnel leading to the top of Visocica or a stone pavement made of geometrically regular shaped pieces. Harding said that although he had not seen the stone pavement, by looking at photographs, "I would not believe it to be archaeological. It looks to me as a natural stone pavement." When asked to comment on Harding's statement, Mario Gerussi, the director of Osmanagic's team leading the excavations, said the team had not been informed of the timing of Harding's visit and that none of the staff at the site had seen him there.
While most Bosnians are hopeful that pyramids will be found, a group of the country's archaeologists and historians have dismissed Osmanagic's mission as a "farce". But Barakat recommended more experts visit the site. An archaeologist from Egypt is scheduled to visit the site this month, and UNESCO Secretary General Koichiro Matsuura said in an interview published in Dnevni Avaz newspaper that "UNESCO expert team to Visoko to determine exactly what it is all about."
Sources: Yahoo! News (5 June 2006), Associated Press, Live Science (9 June 2006), Gulf Times, Physorg (10 June 2006)