The New Pyramid Age 

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The First International Scientific Conference on the Bosnian Pyramids

Philip Coppens


Two years ago, a new page of history began to be written – though not all agree or seem to understand that this is indeed the case. Despite a string of highly credible and impartial scientists that have given their support to the project, in this age of tabloid and media frenzy, controversy sells better than hard scientific facts and the discovery of pyramid structures near the Bosnian town of Visoko is one of its biggest victims. And hence, the Western world – including many in the alternative field – remains largely ignorant of the dramatic new scientific discoveries that are occurring “right here, right now”.
For example: from August 25-30, 2008, the first International Scientific Conference on the “Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids” was presided over by Dr. Nabil Swelim, the owner of three Ph.D. Titles in Archaeological Sciences, and one of the world’s leading Egyptologists. He was but one of several scientific heavyweights that participated in a conference that some sceptics had labelled as “pseudo-scientific”, despite the presence of Dr. Oleg Khavroshkin, one of Russia’s leading scientists, or Dr. Mostafa El Abbadi, founder of the Library of Alexandria and several other leading Egyptologists and archaeologists, largely from Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Dr. Nabil Swelim, Merima Bojic, Dr. Ali Barakat, Dr. Mohamed El-Anbaawy & Dr. Ivan Simatovic; the Pyramid of the Sun in the background

Most importantly, the conference was also the first time that the results of some of the early samples and analyses that had been removed from the various pyramids and tunnels were revealed. At the same time, the event was there to set out a course for further exploration and preservation, as well as trying to set a historical framework into which these pyramids are likely to fit and make comparisons to pyramids elsewhere in the world. It remains nevertheless remarkable how few – including some of the world’s leading archaeologists – are simply unaware – full stop – of the existence of e.g. pyramids in China and Peru. In short, the ICBP was the first major milestone towards understanding this enigmatic Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids, but it is equally clear that there is a long road to go before we no longer see pyramids as part of the old paradigm (i.e. typified by a mistaken belief that they are only present in Egypt and Central America) but rework it to current reality, which is that several cultures had pyramids, in fact, that they are largely a global phenomenon, of various ages.

That heavyweights of archaeology had concluded that the structures near Visoko were manmade, is actually old news – announced to the world in 2007, after a visit to the “Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids” by Dr. Nabil Swelim. Unfortunately, hardly anyone in the West has taken note of this, though the unscientific dismissals of the likes of Anthony Harding, Robert Schoch and some continue to circulate and influence thinking. Indeed, it is clear that the Bosnian pyramids sit ill with those whose mind is ruled by pet theories, whereby they have no room for the paradigm shift that the man-made nature of these structures will bring about.
For Swelim, the Bosnian pyramids are “pyramid hills”, a term he coined three years ago to describe natural features that have been (re)shaped by man, in this case, into the pyramid shape. Of course, to some extent, even the Great Pyramid is such a “pyramid hill”, the very core of it made from a small natural hill. But the term “pyramid hill” is nevertheless an ideal addition to the pyramid landscape, which has – as I reported in “The New Pyramid Age” – been undergoing a radical change since 1994 onwards. Hence, some of the terminology needs to be adapted to fit the new paradigm.

Sam Osmanagic guiding in the tunnels

The conference was opened in the presence of the vice-president of the Federation Spomenka Micic, the minister for tourism of the federal government Nevenko Herceg, the Ambassador of AR Egypt Akhmed Khatab, as well as other dignitaries.
On August 29, 2008, these were the conclusions the scientific conference reached. The Committee for Recommendation consisted of:
- dr. Nabil Swelim, Egyptologists and archaeologist, President of the ICBP 2008
- dr. Oleg Khavroshkin, geophysicist, Chairman of the ICBP Scientific Committee
- dr. Alaa Shaheen, archaeologist, Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology at the Cairo University
- dr. Hassan El-Saady, historian, vice-dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Alexandria University
- dr. Anna Pazdur, physician, Lab for the radiocarbon dating, Silesian University, Gliwice, Poland
- dr. Mona Haggag, archaeologist, Secretary of the Archaeological Society of Alexandria, Egypt
- dr. Ivan Šimatovic, President of the Organizational Committee, Croatia
- dr. Mostafa El-Abbadi, historian, Founder of the modern Library in Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), Egypt
- Chris Norman, planner, Edinburgh, Great Britain
- Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Aly, Egyptologist and archaeologist, Faculty of Art at the University Ein-Shams, Cairo
- Semir Osmanagic, Founder of the “Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun” Foundation and Vice-President of the ICBP 2008.
All prepared the Draft of Recommendations on August 28, which was approved by all participants on August 29 at the plenary session.

The conclusions and recommendations were as follows: “We, the participants of the First International Scientific Conference “Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids” (ICBP 2008) conclude:

1. Work at the archaeological location “Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids” in Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is an important geo-archaeological and epigraphical research that requires further multidisciplinary scientific research which should answer the origin of the Bosnian pyramidal hills and the extensive underground tunnel network as well as other archaeological sites in the vicinity;

2. ICBP Conference recommends that Second International Scientific Conference about the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids should be held in Sarajevo in two years (2010) and gather experts in pyramid research from all over the world;

3. ICBP Conference introduce the initiative to establish Centre for Pyramid Studies with headquarter in Sarajevo;

4. ICBP Conference recommends universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to establish study at the graduate level for archaeology as a support to the research project ‘Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids’.”

When these findings were announced at the subsequent press conference, it was clear that this was a hard – if not devastating – blow for the ardent sceptics, who see this as nothing more than a delusion, if not a “folie à un”, namely Sam Osmanagich’s. In fact, most sceptics have been ridiculing the entire research effort in those most scientific of journals: tabloids. But for some reason, it seems that those in the West who are sceptical about the news from Bosnia do not seem to realise that they are actually working with tabloid fodder and journalists, the pyramids and Sam Osmanagich having become a household name and celebrity in Bosnia – invited on cooking shows, etc. – and thus the subject of tabloid attention.

The level to what the critical tabloid journalists like Vuk Bacanovic have descended: photoshopping silly images on top of billboards.

This was made very apparent at the press conference, where tabloid journalist Vuk Bacanovic, the avowed critic of the project, made his presence felt by holding a ten minute monologue. Bacanovic had not attended a single minute of the conference, yet spewed out certain old and new allegations, none of which made any sense to begin with (e.g. he seemed to want to have an individual roll-call of all conference attendees that they supported the findings, though it was made very clear that all participants supported the conclusions).
Bacanovic is notorious for having called, in writing, Dr. Swelim “senile” and “a fool”, both claims he had the audacity to deny during the press conference. Dr. Swelim therefore offered a swift response which underlined that he is neither senile or a fool. But the situation is perhaps best captured by noting that at the press conference, three members of the press took to the microphone themselves and denounced Bacanovic, largely labelling him a disgrace to the profession. Though he left the conference venue literally shaking, no doubt, his pen will soon be ever sharper than ever before.

Furthermore, before the conference, Swelim invited some of the most vociferous critics of the project, including Anthony Harding, Mark Rose and some selected others. Of all critics, only Dr. Blagoje Govedarica responded, though in a less than straightforward manner. He however refused to attend.
Further insights into the controversy come from American historian Merima Bojic, who has extensively interviewed leading protagonists on both sides of the debate, and writes, especially in regard to the approach of Western opinions on the pyramids: “American journalists such as Colin Woodard and John Bohannon have also joined this opposition and published false articles about Mr. Osmanagic. Woodard referred to Visoko as a nationalistic enclave of the Bosnian Muslims and seemingly tried to connect Mr. Osmanagic to such as a nationalistic movement as well. He falsely claimed that Dr. Barakat and Dr. Schoch measured the pyramids and concluded that they fail to perfectly align with the cardinal points. The truth is that the Geodetic Institute of Bosnia-Herzegovina conducted its own analysis and found that they did in fact align with the cardinal points. Woodard himself also attempted to intimidate Dr. Swelim and had the audacity to email the definition of ‘pyramid.’ Bohannon, who writes for the prominent Science magazine, was also an author of false articles that were so bizarre they do not even merit mention. How, it may occur to one, does Bohannon come to write for such a well-respected and prominent magazine devoted to scientific fact while all information he gathers comes directly from the gossip journalist Bacanovic? Not surprisingly, Woodard does the same.”
In short: one group of people have decided to quickly rule against the possibility of these structures, and now go to extremes in trying to preserve their name, reputation and belief. They pretend it’s not happening, and hope it might go away. Alas for them, but fortunately for everyone else, that is unlikely to be the case.

Pyramid of the Sun

Some of the individual presentations deserve specific mention. Oleg Khavroshkin, of the Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, reported on his geophysical analysis performed between July 20 and August 4, 2007. These scans suggested “the existence of hollow cavities below the ground. These inhomogeneities were registered at Vratnice, Pljesivica, and the tunnels. In the vicinity of the well shaft at the Pyramid of the Moon, clusters of frequencies were observed, resulting probably from such nonhomogenous cavities.” In short, potential chambers.
So what is this complex? Where could this discovery go? As a “pyramid hill”, both the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the moon are taller than the Great Pyramid of Egypt. That makes it by default a matter of national pride. Many scientists argue that there is no known culture in Bosnia, in prehistoric times, that could have built such structures, but this is just blatantly wrong. The region is within the boundary of Old Europe, as defined by Marija Gimbutas, and archaeological finds belonging to this Vinca culture have been found in Visoko itself. Such links were also underlined by Dr Hassan El-Saady during the conference.
Dr. Ali Barakat (an Egyptian geologist who spent 42 days investigating and researching the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun and its tunnels in 2006 and who was sent on the personal recommendation of Zahi Hawass) equally suggests that there is sufficient evidence that these structures are not geological anomalies – a suggestion proposed by Dr. Mohamed El-Anbaawy, who sees the region largely as a series of the most bizarre geological anomalies, and proposed that it should primarily be promoted as a “geological tourist site”. Still, in his presentation, he argued that “much remains to be done in order to get satisfactory explanations for all geological and manmade features in the ‘Bosnian Pyramidal Region’. In this respect it is highly recommended to continue with the research.” El-Anbaawy was the conference’s most critical voice, yet, it is clear, he supports further research and the promotion of the site – conform to the conference’s conclusions.

That the pyramids might be an unknown dimension to the Vinca culture is a “cautious” approach, and, in fact, the conclusions of carbon dating of a piece of wood recovered from the Ravne tunnels were presented by Andrew Lawler and Anna Pazdur. Though they noted that it was a unique artefact (radio carbon dates preferentially being done over a range of artefacts, not just one, so that a range of dates is arrived at), the conclusion was that the piece of wood was 34,000 years old – which could, in theory, be the date when these pyramids were created. If true (and only further digging will tell), then the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids will not merely change a paradigm, but completely shatter it. To be continued, in 2010.