Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bosnian Pseudo-archaeologist pulls wool over media eyes…

Bosnian Pseudo-archaeologist pulls wool over media eyes…

…and perhaps even my own, to some extent. I commented recently on the "Bosnian Pyramid" story with, perhaps, more optimism than skepticism a few days ago. But at least I was in good company. It seems that major media outlets were willing to print headlines like, "Scientists begin dig at Bosnian ‘pyramid’" (MSNBC), "Researchers Find Possible Evidence of Bosnian Pyramid" (Fox News), and "Dig for ancient pyramid in Bosnia" (BBC).

The real story seems to be how the media allowed itself to be duped. How the public is duped is understandable, we expect our major media sources to provide news that is fact-checked (okay, maybe we don't expect these high standards from Fox…). Archaeology Magazine ran an article on 4/27/06 that discusses the media hype and points to some very questionable details about Semir (Sam) Osmanagic. In the earlier article on HOJ, I referred to him as "[a] Bosnian-American archeologist," which is not exactly true. Indeed, it doesn't appear to be true at all.

Apparently Osmanagic is what archaeologists commonly refer to as a "pyramidiot," some one who finds undue significance in pyramid form and function and is a monger for the "mystery" surrounding them. Pyramidiots (different link) posit all sorts of silly notions like aliens built the pyramids at Giza, the Maya and Incan pyramids were constructed by a civilization that is related to that of ancient Egypt, etc.

These clues should have been more apparent in looking at Osmanagic's site, the Bosnian Pyramid. He makes the pseudoscientific claim that nature is incapable of producing geometric shapes, which is echoed in claims that surround possible sites of Atlantis and the alleged "face" on Mars. He also presents his findings to the media, rather than for peer-review, generating a lot of hyperbole and attention, thus giving the impression of legitimacy.

The Archaeology article also quotes Osmanagic's book, The World of the Maya, available online at www.alternativnahistorija.com. There, Osmanagic states, "The Mayan hieroglyphics tell us that their ancestors came from the Pleiades... first arriving at Atlantis where they created an advanced civilization." He goes on to say that ancient cultures like the Maya, Inca, Sumerian, and Egyptian built temples that functioned as gateways to other worlds and dimensions.

Osmanagic offers as "proof of manmade" the "maze of tunnels" that he has allegedly discovered at the site as well as "stone blocks" that locals have been finding. In the 2 May 2006 news bit offered on his site, Osmanagic cites the fact that the pyramid has four sides that "match the points of the compass, facing north, south, east and west" as further evidence for artificiality. I'm starkly reminded of an individual that was making his internet rounds on sciforums claiming that Cydonia on Mars (including the "face") was evidence of artificiality because of what appeared to be right angles.

The significance-junkie and mystery-monger will find no end to those willing to appeal to his sense of mystery or desire to find undue significance in natural coincidences. Maybe the Bosnian "pyramid" is man-made, but it doesn't seem likely. Nor does it seem that there is a qualified and competent individual investigating the site for what genuine artifacts remain.

1 Epigraphic Artifact:

Yakima_Gulag said...

Yeah tell me about it! I too felt some optimism about the pyramid, mostly because I saw the mountain from the road, but any good topographical map will show that it's NOT what Osmanagic says it is! It's NOT four sided etc!
Then there's the stecci that are being destroyed, some of them may have been the gravestones of some of my ancestors. So I'm not thrilled on that count.

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