Photo:The Pyramid of the Sun
In the past two years we have seen the pages of history slowly being rewritten, and Bosnia may soon lay claim to having the world’s oldest pyramidsâ€”which shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing the area has the oldest European civilisation as well.
A new pyramid paradigm
Over the past 10 years, the old paradigm that pyramids could only be found in Egypt and Central America has been substituted by a new perspective, which is that pyramids are a global phenomenon and have been built by numerous civilisations in several ages. The Pyramid of Cholula in Mexico is now regarded as the largest, though not the tallest, and the pyramid complex at Caral in Peru is the oldest, conservatively dated to 3100 BCE. Most of these findings have received little to no media attention, and even many historians are unaware of these new facts. But one new pyramid complex has been in many headlines, even making appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: the Bosnian pyramids.
What was described by Stewart as the best thing to happen to Bosnia “sinceâ€¦ever” began in 2005, when Bosnian-born entrepreneur Semir “Sam” Osmanagic was shown the enigmatic Visocica hill that rises above the town of Visoko, near the capital Sarajevo. Could this be a pyramid? Osmanagic decided to invest in a preliminary geological survey, which concluded that further exploration of the structure was recommended.
Furthermore, when his own book on the Mayan pyramids fell open on a page showing a photograph of the Pyramid of the Sun in TeotihuacĂˇn, Mexico, Osmanagic thought the resemblance to be so similar that he decided to call Visocica “Pyramid of the Sun”, too, and the name has stuck. With this, the otherwise tranquil Visoko has become one of the most controversial archaeological sites in the worldâ€”controversial because just about everyone involved in pyramid research has given an opinion on the subject.
Geologist Dr Robert Schoch, who adheres to the theory that the Sphinx is thousands of years older than accepted, said he believes the structures to be natural formations. Dr Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, had to give his opinion as well, committing a number of faux pas along the way.
For example, when Dr Hawass was asked by Osmanagic to provide the name of an expert, he offered Dr Ali Barakat. A geologist, Dr Barakat meticulously investigated the structures for 42 days in 2006 and concludes that they are man-made. However, Dr Hawass pretended afterwards that he’d had nothing to do with the Bosnian saga!
Dr Barakat is not alone in speaking in favour of the man-made nature of Visocica and other apparent pyramids nearby. Archaeologist Dr Nabil Mohamed Swelim, holder of three PhDs and the discoverer of four pyramids in Egypt, visited the structures in September 2007 and he, too, concludes that they are man-made “pyramid hills”, as distinct from pyramids. A pyramid hill is a natural hill that is artificially enhanced to conform to the pyramid structure, whereas a pyramid is built from the bottom up.
There is also a growing and impressive list of scientistsâ€”mostly from Egypt, Eastern Europe and Russiaâ€”who conclude that these structures are man-made. But their voices, specifically in the western media, have gone unheard.
Indeed, the First International Scientific Conference, Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids (ICBP), held on 25â€“30 August 2008, received minimal exposure despite the participation of the likes of Dr Alaa Shaheen, archaeologist and Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology at Cairo University, Dr Hassan El-Saady, historian and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Alexandria University, Dr Mostafa El-Abbadi, founder of the modern library in Alexandria (the Bibliotheca Alexandrina) and Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Aly, Egyptologist and archaeologist in the Faculty of Arts at Ein-Shams University, Cairo.
Instead, the few reports in the western media focused on the critics, who labelled the conference “pseudo-scientific”. What equally was not reported is that invitations from Dr Swelim to the critics to attend were ignored by those critics.
A scientific crusade
The most avowed critic of the Bosnian pyramids in the western world is archaeology professor Anthony Harding, of the University of Exeter, UK. He voiced his opinion on the matter as early as April 2006, and drove around the town of Visoko for a few minutes in June that year, afterwards labelling the Visocica pyramid a natural formation. One might therefore think that the good professor had then moved on to other fields, but no.
Immediately after the ICBP in August 2008, Professor Harding approached some of those who made the official conclusion/ recommendation (which is that the site requires and warrants continued excavation), stating that the archaeological establishment has “condemned” the Bosnian pyramids as “a fraud”. Harding has never put any hard scientific facts on any table to support such a serious allegation.
In the program for the European Association of Archaeologists September 2008 Malta conference, he summed up the discovery as the “Bosnian pyramid fiasco”, which “has drawn attention to the way in which the creation of fictitious pasts can be used for political and nationalist ends”. Still, if Harding is so convinced that the pyramids are fraudulent, then why waste time pursuing the story let alone approaching some of the attendees?