Bosnia Pyramids --
Extraordinary Claims Need Extraordinary Evidence
By Mr. Doug Weller © 2006
Dear Dr. Dowell,
Although I am by no means a professional archaeologist I do have both academic and practical experience of archaeology as well as a good general academic background which I think has equipped me with the skills needed to understand research in a variety of fields. Those who know me know that I consider myself a skeptic, which to me means that all ideas, be they ‘sacred cows’ or radical new ideas, require the application of reason and the existence of convincing and agreed evidence. I’ve followed Semir Osmanagic’s Bosnian pyramid claims since they were first announced in the international press in 2005. I’ve watched the story develop and have tried to find out as much as I can about the various claims of different experts and have been fortunate to be in direct contact with some of the people who have either been directly involved or who have been there.
Because of my knowledge of similar claims, particularly where there are ‘interesting’ geological features involved, plus Osmanagic’s own statements about the Maya, Atlantis, and aliens, I will admit that I felt that such extraordinary claims were going to need really extraordinary evidence.
I have read the many articles that have been posted about Bosnia and Semir Osmanagic on your site. I’ve been looking at some of the photographs of Semir’s slide show or power point presentation and am fascinated by what they display and what Semir advertises.
Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with fund raising for an archaeological dig. My questions are about how the fundraising is being done and what it is for.
For convenience I will just list the slides with numbers and sub-titles.
Please click on thumbnails to enlarge pictures.
1 - Option B.
I look at this and think 'ok, protection/restoration, check. Economy, scientific exchange, check, who could be against them? Bosnian adventure, tiny country, civilizational face, archaeological giant. Hmm, alarm bells start chiming softly.
2 - Ancient Writings --Inscriptions.
Monoliths? Writing? Whoa, whoa! Who has seen more than one 'monolith'? [Note that since Doug Weller originally wrote this letter more monoliths and writing have been claimed after Dr. Dowell and Dr. Schoch came out with their reports of the fraudulent inscriptions on the tunnel monolith --there will be more links added soon to these papers.] Who has seen any writing? Remember, writing isn't just a symbol or two. Writing means putting readable symbols/characters together to make something that can be read. Nothing like that has been found, and the inscriptions that have been found on *one* monolith have been challenged.
Slide 3 - First European Archaeological park.
This is even more misleading. Nothing like the pictures here have been found, nothing that even looks as though it might look like those pictures has been found.
Slide 4 - Pyramid of the Sun.
Restore and protect 4 different cultures? Bosnia, the tallest pyramid in the world? Respect Bosnia’s authentic past and respect will come to Bosnia for future generations. Restore --hang on a minute here; how can something be restored when no evidence is present that it exists? Protect? There has been no protection of the archeological sites in Visoko. The excavations are endangering and destroying valuable layers of earth undoubtedly containing artifacts of previous authentic cultures.
There is something twisted about all of this. This is beginning to smell like a real con game. This brings me back to question OPTION B;
Semir is asking people to invest in what?
1. Carving up hills to make the natural geology look like pyramids and roadways. I've been complaining since the start about the inappropriate use of digging machinery, which is neither protecting nor restoring the archaeology but is more likely destroying the real archaeology to create something that will indeed be manmade, but made by Osmanagic.
2. Scientific Exchange - we shall see. So far scientific reports are being dismissed by Osmanagic if they are not in favour of his claims. Bosnia's reputation will not be enhanced, indeed it will be made worse, if this proves to be a pipedream. Nationalism is the enemy of archaeology. The reputation of Japanese archaeologists was badly damaged when it was discovered that amateur archaeologist Fujimura Shinichi had been faking Paleolithic finds to prove that Japan's Paleolithic past had started earlier than anywhere else in Asia. Fujimura's amazing finds had attracted a lot of public support. The government named some of his sites as national historical sites, the Agency for Cultural Affairs sponsored exhibitions, etc. Local authorities used his finds to create tourist attractions, etc, all in aid of the local economy and claims that their areas went back hundreds of thousands of years. Obviously there are some important differences between the two situations (one being that we haven't reached a conclusion to the Bosnian saga yet and Osmanagic may well, probably does, believe in Bosnian pyramids, unlike Fujimura). However, part of what drove Fujimura's success was nationalism, and nationalism is often the enemy of scientific archeology.
3. European archaeological park - as I've said, that drawing is extremely misleading.
'Pyramid of the Sun' -Does this look like a pyramid?
4. Pyramid of the Sun in Bosnia - What pyramid? What quality of respect will Bosnia and its youth gain by this? Osmanagic has put the cart before the horse. He has decided that there are pyramids there and rejects anything that might suggest there are no pyramids.
If Osmanagic was inviting people to
invest to find out what was there,
that might be one thing.
But he isn't.
He is telling them what is there,
he is creating his own archaeology
as he goes along.
This is neither honest nor scientific.
Meanwhile there is not enough money to properly investigate the real and fascinating archaeology of Bosnia. For instance, only 7km from this site is what may be the largest Neolithic village in Europe. John Bohannon, writing in Science Magazine, 22 September 2006, said, “Over the past 4 years, a team led by Kujundzic-Vejzagic and Johannes Müller, an archaeologist at the University of Kiel, Germany, has been exploring a site near the town of Okoliste, 7 km away from the pyramid hunt. It has been identified as part of the Butmir culture, a source of richly decorated pottery and intricate statuettes discovered in 1893. Research on these artifacts and related 7000-year-old dwelling sites could help answer one of the central questions of prehistoric archaeology, says Müller: ‘How and why did we go from simple, egalitarian societies of small settlements to complex, hierarchical societies with big, dense settlements?’ But this project is in danger because of the Pyramid Phenomenon -- not just because of funding, but, as Bohannon says, ‘..Kujundzic-Vejzagic says she is on the verge of quitting. She says she's been the target of hate mail from the pro-pyramid movement; no one in government has stepped forward to defend her.’ If she goes, the entire Butmir project will probably fold.”
What Osmanagic is doing is probably good for the local tourist industry and may be boosting Bosnia's self-image in the short term. But, a tourist industry or self-image based on what isn't really there won't last. Visocica hill has some fascinating stuff --not just the ruins of the medieval Royal city, but quite possibly evidence that it was turned into a defensive position during the Neolithic period. Let's see the real archaeology of Bosnia explored and look at its potential. The authentic, the true archaeology of Bosnia’s history is where the respect will be gained.
I have found the comments and articles that the two of you have written before, during and after your trip to Bosnia have given me valuable insights into what is happening there, perhaps all the more useful as they haven’t come from what some might see as members of the establishment. The many photographs have been particularly useful in clarifying a number of issues, and I hope to see a fuller report on the geology at some future date.
Mr. Doug Weller
Director and Moderator The Hall of Ma'at http://www.thehallofmaat.com
Doug's Archaeology Site: http://www.ramtops.co.uk
Thanks to Dr. Colette Dowell for providing photographs and graphics for my paper.
If you would like to read Colette Dowell's comments in reply
to Mr. Doug Weller's letter please CLICK HERE.
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