| 1 May 2006
The Bosnia-Atlantis connection
The story about the world's oldest and largest pyramid found in Bosnia has swept the media. Too bad that it is not a credible story at all. In fact, according to Archaeology magazine, it is impossible.
Semir (Sam) Osmanagic, a Houston-based Bosnian-American contractor first saw the hills he believes to be pyramids last spring. He is now digging the largest of them and plans to continue the work through November, claiming it is one of five pyramids in the area. These, he says, resemble the 1,800-year-old pyramids at Teotihuacan, just north of Mexico City. Osmanagic maintains that the largest is bigger than the pyramid of Khufu at Giza, and that the Bosnian pyramids date to 12,000 BCE.
Construction of massive pyramids in Bosnia at that period is not believable. Curtis Runnels, a specialist in the prehistory of Greece and the Balkans at Boston University, notes that "Between 27,000 and 12,000 years ago, the Balkans were locked in the last Glacial maximum, a period of very cold and dry climate with glaciers in some of the mountain ranges. The only occupants were Upper Paleolithic hunters and gatherers who left behind open-air camp sites and traces of occupation in caves. These remains consist of simple stone tools, hearths, and remains of animals and plants that were consumed for food. These people did not have the tools or skills to engage in the construction of monumental architecture."
In Osmanagic's book The World of the Maya are some rather bizarre notions (to say the least): "...It is my theory that the Maya should be considered watchmakers of the cosmos whose mission it is to adjust the Earthly frequency and bring it into accordance with the vibrations of our Sun. [...] The Mayan hieroglyphics tell us that their ancestors came from the Pleiades... first arriving at Atlantis where they created an advanced civilization."
Stories like the one about ancient pyramids in Bosnia infuriate serious scholars like Runnels. "These reports are irresponsible on the part of journalists," he says. "These claims are completely unsupported with any kind of factual evidence, such as artifacts or photographs of the alleged architectures. They have not been confirmed by archaeologists who have the training and competence to evaluate them." Some in the academic establishment maintain that the kind of project Osmanagic is running is far worse than just misleading the gullible public.
Anthony Hardy, president European Association of Archaeologists, wrote the editors, "The situation of professional heritage management in Bosnia-Herzegovina is in a poor state, with a tiny number of people trying to do what they can to protect their rich heritage from looting and unmonitored or unauthorised development. It adds insult to injury when rich outsiders can come in and spend large sums pursuing their absurd theories, in ways that most other countries would never countenance, instead of devoting their cash to the preservation of the endangered genuine sites and monuments in which Bosnia-Herzegovina abounds." In one of the few critical accounts of the Bosnian pyramid story, the University of Sarejevo's Enver Imamovic is quoted as saying, "This is the equivalent of letting me, an archaeologist, perform surgery in hospitals."
There is public outcry within Bosnia, and an online petition that seeks to shut down Osmanagic's project. But he apparently has backers within the federal government and the Sarejevo city government. Whether he is allowed to continue or not is unresolved for now, and his website makes no mention of any controversy. And even when the mainstream media catch up and realize that the "Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun" is no such thing, it will have entered the annals of fantastic archaeology and will have a multitude of believers and defenders.
Source: Archaeology Magazine (27 April 2006)
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