Is Bosnian hill actually an ancient pyramid?[
Archaeologists study mound — but hold off from conclusions
By Aida Cerkez-Robinson
Updated: 11:58 a.m. ET Dec. 5, 2005
VISOKO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - With eyes trained to recognize pyramids hidden in the hills of El Salvador, Mexico and Peru, Semir Osmanagic has been drawn to the mound overlooking this central Bosnian town.
"It has all the elements: four perfectly shaped slopes pointing toward
the cardinal points, a flat top and an entrance complex," he said,
gazing at the hill and wondering what lies beneath.
No pyramids are known in Europe, and there is no evidence any ancient civilization there ever attempted to build one.
But Osmanagic, a Bosnian archaeologist who has spent the last 15 years studying the pyramids of Latin America, suspects there is one here in his Balkan homeland.
"We have already dug out stone blocks which I believe are covering the
pyramid," he said. "We found a paved entrance plateau and discovered
underground tunnels. You don't have to be an expert to realize what
Osmanagic, 45, who now lives in Houston, is
personally financing excavations at the Visocica hill, a 2,120-foot
(646-meter) hump outside Visoko, a town about 20 miles (32 kilometers)
northwest of the capital, Sarajevo.
He learned about the hill in April from Senad Hodovic, director of a museum devoted to the history of Visoko, which is rich in Bronze Age
and medieval artifacts. Hodovic had attended a promotion of an
Osmanagic book about ancient civilizations and thought he would like to
see Visoko's pyramid-shaped hill.
When the pair climbed the
hill, the sweeping view revealed a second, smaller pyramid-shaped hill.
It reminded Osmanagic of pairs of pyramids he has seen in Latin America
that together create a gateway into a valley.
15 anomalies found
After obtaining a permit to research the site, which is protected by
the state as a national monument, the first probes of the main hill
were carried out this summer at six points. Nadja Nukic, a geologist
involved in the research, said she found 15 anomalies suggesting that
some layers of the hill were human-made.
"We found layers of
what we call 'bad concrete,' a definitely unnatural mixture of gravel
once used to form blocks with which this hill was covered," Osmanagic
"The hill was already there," he added. "Some ancient
civilization just shaped it and then coated it with this primitive
concrete — and there you have a pyramid."
excavations continued until early November, when winter set in, with
the work focusing on what Osmanagic theorizes may have been the
entrance to a pyramid-shaped temple.
Built by Illyrians?
Osmanagic believes the hill was shaped by the Illyrian people, who
inhabited the Balkan peninsula long before Slavic tribes conquered it
around A.D. 600. Little is known about the Illyrians, but Osmanagic
thinks they were more sophisticated than many experts have suggested.
Nukic, who has walked up and down the hill several times, said she
noticed symmetrical platforms in the slopes — indentations that
Osmanagic believes are steps built into the pyramid.
businessman who bought a lot at the foot of the hill and brought in a
bulldozer to dig the foundation for a house, meanwhile, unearthed
manmade sandstone plates that the archaeologists think may have been
Anthropologists say the Visoko valley already
offers ample evidence of organized human settlements dating back 7,000
years. The town was Bosnia's capital during the Middle Ages, and German
archaeologists working the valley recently found 24,000 Neolithic
artifacts just three feet below the surface.
‘No fast conclusions, please’
Osmanagic is taking a cautious approach about the hill.
"No fast conclusions, please. The evidence has to be firm, at least beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.
"Not that I don't believe in a pyramid here," he added. "This place was
always called 'Pyramid' by the local population. But we have to prove
that this is not a natural shape."
He thinks, however, that the shape of the hill speaks for itself.
"God can make many things, but such perfectly geometrically formed
slopes, pointing exactly toward the north, south, east and west — if he
did that, well, that's phenomenal itself."
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