Do the pyramids of Bosnia truly exist? Archaeologist Semir Osmanagic, more commonly known outside of his native land as Sam Osmanagic, made the – what has been considered by many as outrageous – claims that the Eastern European country is home to the largest man-made ancient pyramids on Earth.
The 55-year-old archaeologist made the claims back in 2005 after stating that five hills covered in greenery near to the town of Visoko were actually man-made structures. One of them, which he has dubbed the Pyramid of the Sun, measures more than 220m in height – which would make it substantially bigger than the Great Pyramid of Giza which is considered the largest at the moment being 147m tall.
An excavation led by Osmanagic in 2006 under the not-for-profit organisation Archaeological Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation revealed that the pyramids are connected by a series of underground tunnels with the structures dating back 34,000 years, the archaeologist said. However, many of his peers have greeted his claims with scepticism due to the lack of evidence that has been provided.
Speaking in a recent interview with Straits Times, Osmanagic gave his thoughts on why he believes people are cautious about his claims: "You have not only the first pyramids in Europe, but also the biggest on the planet. This is shocking to many archaeologists as most people like to keep the status quo when you come up with new and progressive ideas."
But archaeological professor Curtis Runnels from Boston University was at hand to counter Osmanagic's claims. He also told Straits Times: "Early prehistoric cultures, including village farmers of the Neolithic period [back to 9,000 years ago], and before them Stone Age hunters and gatherers, did not have populations large enough or social structures organised in ways that would have permitted the creation of pyramids on a large scale. Pyramidal shapes offer the least resistance to such forces, and are common forms in nature."
Says Dr Brian Stewart, assistant curator at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Michigan, added: "There were very worrying reports that he and his team have essentially sculpted the sides of these natural hills into something they think resembles pyramids, in the process stripping away sediment which contains layers of actual archaeology from medieval and earlier periods."