Skip to comments.Bosnian Pyramids: Absence Of Evidence Is Not Evidence Of Atlantis
Posted on 06/15/2006 2:55:21 PM PDT by blam
Bosnian Pyramids: Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Atlantis
I wasn't going to pyramid blog here, but I've new information and it might be handy to collate all the debunking into one post. If you've been following this at my site then skip on to the Geological and Archaeological results. Otherwise this is both really odd and something I would dearly love to be wrong about.
Late last year news broke of a pyramid that had been found in Bosnia. I didnt give it any thought until Coturnix wrote about it in December at Science and Politics. Archaeoblog mentioned it in October and their comment we predict it will probably blow over within a few months pretty much summed up my opinion of pyramid story.
In mid-April the story exploded which is when I started posting on it because some of the claims were a bit odd. My posts have stirred up some ire, particularly in people who have only read one. What I'll do here is collate the reasons I'm sceptical about the pyramids and add some new information.
Introducing the Pyramid
Visoèica hill, a Bosnian pyramid? Photo by Sinia Subotiæ The pyramid is Visoèica hill which overlooks the town of Visoko in Bosnia-Herzegovina. If you want a closer look at where that is then you can download kmz files for Google Earth for the Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon, Pyramid of the Bosnian Dragon and , along with a map overlay which has all been kindly provided by the site BosnianPyramid.com.
Photographed from the right angle it does look like a pyramid. The initial claims that came with the photographs were odd though. Semir Osmanagiæ, the discoverer of the pyramid claimed that the pyramid was built at the end of the Ice Age, possibly by the same peoples who built the Egyptian and Mexican pyramids. This could have profound implications for our understanding of prehistory because previously Osmanagiæ has shown that the Mexican pyramids had been built with the aid of aliens from Arcturus in the Pleiades system. Not surprisingly archaeologists have been reluctant to embrace these claims. Professor Anthony Harding, President of the European Association of Archaeologists, wrote to the Times where he stated:
In most countries of Europe those with wacky theories about hidden mysteries on presumed archaeological sites are free to propound them but not to undertake excavation, which by its very nature destroys much of what it uncovers; let alone excavation by those unqualified in terms of training and experience. There's been quite a few people inside and outside Bosnia condeming the excavation. Enver Imamovic of the University of Sarajevo, a former director of the National Museum of Sarajevo, said that the excavations would "irreversibly destroy a national treasure". But while claims might seem highly eccentric could there be some truth in them? Could Bosnia have a pyramid?
The idea of a Bosnian pyramid is not completely ridiculous. Above is a picture of Silbury Hill. This is a Neolithic construction close to Avebury in Wiltshire. It's about four and a half thousand years old and was buitl without the aid of metal tools in the Stone Age. It's an astonishingly weird place. Where would you build an impressive mound? Me, I wouldn't choose the bottom of a valley where it can be hidden from view. I'd have built it on top of a tall hill where everyone for miles around would be impressed. Nonetheless the bottom of the valley is where Stone Age peoples placed it. People in the past could be strange from a modern perspective. So why couldn't there be a pyramid in Bosnia? The hill was the home of the medieval capital Visoki, it had also been occupied by the Romans and Illyrians. There's even Neolithic flint scatters on the hill. If the hill was broadly pyramid shaped then any of them could have re-shaped the hill to make it a pyramid. The concept is not automatically daft.
To add to this the initial press coverage was amazingly uncritical. It's not surprising that so many people think this is a genuine pyramid. Various news agencies have described him as a scientist or archaeologist and haven't bothered asking any of the archaeologists in Bosnia what they think. If something looks like a pyramid, and every news source says it's a pyramid then you'd have to have a fairly good reason to think there might be something else going on.
Problems in the press releases
This is not the first Pyramid to be discovered in Europe
The first puzzle which drew me in isn't very big in the scale of things and might even be due to a mistranslation, but it is odd. It was claimed the Bosnian Pyramid was the first to be found in Europe. This surprised me because I found one in 1997 in Rome. It didn't make the news because Italians have been finding it on a daily basis for the past two thousand years. The Pyramid of Cestius is a 100% genuine ancient pyramid near the train Terminal in Rome. It looks like an Egyptian pyramid and that's because Cestius thought they looked rather natty and wanted one for himself. From the news you'd think pyramids were unknown in Europe, but this isn't the case. The Bosnian Pyramid could be the earliest pyramid in Europe, but not the first to be found. If the Bosnian experts didn't know of this pyramid, then how expert were they? That got me looking more closely at the claims.
The figures don't add up
Looking more closely at the numbers given there are a few peculiarities which don't make sense. Take for instance this claim:
Bosnian Geodetic Institute (Geodetski Zavod BiH) is confirmed previous findings of the Foundation Archaeological Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun. If we connect a top of the pyramids (Sun, Moon, Dragon) by drawing a line. We can see that distance is equal. This lines are forming triangle. Sides of the triangle have equal lengths. Angles of this triangle are 60 degrees exactly (not any minute difference). BosnianPyramid.com (see 15 April entry) If you slept through basic geometry at school a minute is one-sixieth of a degree. It would be a difficult claim to check, the photos look quite convincing. Except if you download the placemarks linked above (and possibly have Google Earth Plus) you can check this next claim too. I measured the distance between the Pyramids of the Moon and the Dragon and got a distance of 2,250 metres.
The distance between the Pyramids of the Moon and the Dragon. Click for a bigger image.
That's open to questions about accuracy, the sites haven't been excavated yet (which doesn't bother the Bosnian Geodetic Institute but nevermind) but they do give a ballpark figure. If the tops of the pyramids do describe an equilateral triangle then the distance between the Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun should be around the same.
The distance between the Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun. Click for a bigger image.
The distance is 2,060 metres. That's a 10% difference which makes you wonder quite how you can declare the angles are equal to within an accuracy of a minute. One reasonable objection I've had to this measurement is that the Pyramid of the Sun is higher I may have measured the flat difference between the summits. How much higher would the Pyramid of the Sun have to be than the other pyramids? 904 metres. The summit of the hill is only 767 metres above sea level, so the peaks of the pyramids would have to be around 150 metres below sea-level for the geometrical claim to work. I look at those results and assume I've made a big mistake somewhere, but I cannot see where. The measurements would have to be staggeringly inaccurate. Unfortunately...
The figures really don't add up
Ok, that's a bit esoteric. What about basic data. How old is the pyramid? It depends on who you listen to.
Semir Osmanagiæ told BosnianPyramid.com that "all three pyramids were constructed during the same period, with the Bosnian pyramid the last to be built".
However, Semir Osmanagiæ speaking to FENA news disagreed saying the Bosnian Pyramid was probably the first. Alas the orginal link has expired but you can see it at Bosnia News.
Semir Osmanagiæ has a different view. Speaking in the April/May issue of Nexus Magazine he was cautious on the dating, saying it was more likely to be Illyrian in date.
This has been flatly contradicted by the official site where Semir Osmanagiæ has said "The following year, 2007, will be marked by the astonishment of the world public how such colossal monuments could have been made before the end of the last Ice age." and "Regarding the age, there is more and more evidence that the main pyramid complex were built right before the end of the last Ice age, indicating that there was world wide plan for building these monuments." Though that Q&A session has been deleted, so it will only live on for a while in Google Cache.
The figures really, really don't add up
Well perhaps the dating is provisional what about the most basic data? How tall is the pyramid? It's 100 metres high. It's 70 metres high with a base 220 by 220 metres. It's 220 metres high (a claim which was on an official site now only available via Google Cache). Each side is 365 metres long, (which using geometry yields a height of 365/2 metres) so it's 187.5 182.5 metres high. (see note below on my own mathematical error)
When you put all those figures together the claims look laughable, so is anyone who still thinks this is a pyramid a fool? Absolutely not. No news agency has been putting these figures together, so the contradictions aren't obvious. The average person reading MSNBC, CNN or the BBC doesn't cross-check the information to check it. There's an assumption that journalism is a bit more than copying press releases. Besides, if you did you'd find that it is accepted by new agencies that Osmanagiæ is an archaeologist. All the blogs talking excitedly about the pyramid have good reason to be excited because the reporting of this story has been terrible.
...but you've never been there
One of the more beguiling ripostes to criticism is that the critics aren't at the site. If people came and saw what was being done they'd change their mind. You have to be at the site to understand it.
If this is true then archaeology is going to tip on its axis. For example, there are thousands of ancient Greek sites. Do I have to visit them all to be able to write on Greek archaeology? Not only that do I have to be there as they are dug? Archaeological excavation is an inherently destructive process. What remains after a dig isn't the same as what was in the ground before the dig. There are three reasons why I think that think the idea this site is a pyramid will be rejected.
You don't have to visit the Titanic to know it's a shipwreck.
Basic geometry is the same the world over. If Osmanagiæ cannot measure the height of the pyramid then there's no reason to assume he'll be able to make any accurate record of the excavation. I don't have to visit the site to check his maths.
The excavation report has to be of a usable standard.So far the photos coming out don't look like an archaeological dig. It could be that he's keeping the photos which will make him look competent back for the excavation report, so I may be disproved on this one, but I doubt it because there are opinions of people who are at the site - or claimed to be. This final point is the killer: Osmanagiæ's own experts say he is wrong
The expert on-site opinion is that this is not a pyramid
An example of the shoddy reporting of the site is in the geological reporting. You may have heard of the visit of Ali Abd Barakat of the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority. I cannot track down that he is who he is claimed to be, I've had no reply from EMRA to my enquries - that might be important for reasons below. However he wasn't the first geologist on site. The Hall of Ma'at has also been following this story and they found a press release from professional Bosnian geologists working on the site at the request of Osmanagiæ:
8 May 2006, 15:30 (GMT+2:00) : Tuzla (FENA). Professors from the Faculty of Mining and Geology at the University of Tuzla, acting members of the Geological explorations team that did geological studies of the Visocica hill near Visoko (the locality of an alleged Bosnian pyramid), presented today at a press conference in Tuzla the final results of their research completed at the request by the Foundation "Arheoloki park Bosanska piramida sunca" Visoko. The team leader Professor Dr. Sejfudin Vrabac said that they have concluded that Visocica hill is a natural geological formation, made of classic sediments of layered composition and varying thickness, and that its shape is a consequence of endodynamical and egsodynamical process in post-Miocene era. According to Professor Vrabac who specializes in paleogeology, there are dozens of like morphological formations in the Sarajevo-Zenica mining basin alone. The Geological team report on Visocica, based on the data collected in six drill holes at 3 to 17 m depths, is supported by the Research and Teaching Council of the Faculty of Mining and Geology, as well as the Association of Geologists of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Geologists trained and working in Bosnia find nothing out of the ordinary. If you only heard the later story then you might think there was a strong case for a man-made pyramid. Who is more likely to right? The Bosnian geological team with the Research and Teaching Council of the Faculty of Mining and Geology, as well as the Association of Geologists of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina? Or the Egyptian Geologist, if he is who Osmanagiæ claims. And this is the big problem. The archaeologists seem to be evaporating in the Bosnian Sun.
If you claim that an expert is on site when they're on the other side of the world is that fraud?
Again thanks to Google Cache it is still possible to see a press release from 18 Jan 2006. The relevant part is
Thanks to the interest of archeologists from the entire world, activities are already in progress on forming strong expert teams of the Project. Participation has been confirmed by the following archeologists: Grace Fegan, a leading Irish archeologist, Royce Richards from Austria, together with other archaeologists from the University in Innsbruck, Glasgow and Ljubljana.
So what can we make of the comment at from Grace Fegan? I also received phone calls from two British journalists enquiring as to the nature of my involvement in the project. These gentlemen were kind enough to inform me that I was listed on the project website as being one of the 'foreign experts' taking part. When I logged on to the website I found that I was listed as Senior Archaeologist, Kilkenny (I am the senior archaeologist for the firm in which I work, but not for the entire county of Kilkenny!).
Most worrying of all was a link through which people could supposedly contact me. When I clicked on it an email address came up of which I had no previous knowledge and to which I had no access. Needless to say, I found this pretty unsettling. Mr Osmanagich used my name in connection with his project when he had no right to do so. He also seems to have made every attempt to make me into something that I am not.
In addition he potentially misled those who visited the website that they could contact me, and that whatever responses they would receive would be from me. The whole thing is at Piramidalna prevara. Could this be faked by someone with a grudge? I don't think so, because I've been in contact with Royce Richards.
It turns out Royce Richards is in fact from Australia. He's also listed as being on the archaeological committee of the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation. He's also been heard from:
Its all a big load of b******s. The Bosnian Pyramid is just a shonky attempt by a shonky person to make a name for themselves, its not something I want to be involved with. Its quite annoying as I now get random emails from all kinds of kooks expecting me to be an authority on Bosnian pyramids!! The damage this will do to my professional reputation is yet to be seen..........!
I never gave Mr Osmanagich permission to give my name to any media organisation and I never gave any media organisation permission to put my name in print. For the record I am an archaeologist. For the record I am not involved in the Bosnian pyramid project. For the record Im pretty annoyed with finding my name given to the media in relation to Bosnian pyramids.
You can read the whole comment at The Esoteric Blog (you'll need to scroll down a bit). I've emailed to check that this is indeed the Royce Richards listed by the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation and I had a reply within a couple of hours. This is definitely a case where Osmanagiæ isn't simply mistaken or forgetful or changing his mind with new evidence. He is demonstrably trading on someone else's reputation.
Does the evidence remain convincing?
I wish it did. I would love for them to find a pyramid, though now my first question would be to ask how much of the reports are falsified. The past will always be throwing up new things to challenge our preconceptions. But in this instance there's no geological evidence there's a pyramid, there's no archaeological evidence there's a pyramid and the claims are either clearly nonsensical or fraudulent.
This is potentially a serious problem. There are plenty of remains on the hill. The context of these will be destroyed when they are excavated so excavation needs to be done adequately. Can this be done by Osmanagiæ who, if he isn't a con-man, has only a passing acquaintance with reality? It's certainly not being done by the people he claims are there. It looks like thousands of years of archaeological deposits are going to be ripped up for one summer of economic success. Is Bosnian Heritage that cheap?
You can follow the ongoing tale of the Bosnian Pyramid in the Hall of Ma'at
Get this man a new dose of Quaaludes.
And I always thought that it was the species from P7X-377.
The claims looked, uh, a little farfetched in the first place. :') Of course, this Bosnian pyramid business isn't going to just blow over, either -- it'll be around (and occasionally resuscitate) for decades, at least.
As noted, there are plenty of other pyramids in Europe. If that natural formation in Bosnia were 12,000 years old, it really would be the oldest pyramid, which should make everyone wonder why no one in the past 11,999 years had noticed it. ;')
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There was the Man From Alantis... if that means anything.
Damn! Now I'll have to redraw and correct my star maps the obviously mistaken astronomers sold me. They keep telling me that Arcturus is 37 Light years away, in Boötes, while the "Pleiades System" is 425 light years away, in Taurus.
Maybe Osmanagiæ measures things in Lite Beers, which would explain a lot.
Gee, I wonder why they are so reluctant to embrace the aforesaid claims?
You bet your Boötes.
[rimshot! even though it was way too obvious]
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