The Bosnian pyramids are a cluster of natural geological formations known as flatirons near the Bosnian town of Visoko, northwest of Sarajevo. The hill named Visočica became the focus of international attention in October 2005 following a news-media campaign promoting the idea that they are human-made and the largest ancient pyramids on Earth.
In analysing the site, its known history, and the excavations; geologists, archeologists, and other scientists have concluded that they are natural formations and that there are no signs of human building involved. Additionally, scientists have criticised the Bosnian authorities for supporting the pyramid claim saying: “This scheme is a cruel hoax on an unsuspecting public and has no place in the world of genuine science.” A 2007 report suggests that one of the pyramids is a hill which has been modified into a pyramid-like shape by humans, possibly in order to prevent erosion, which is widely occurring in the area in question. A 2008 report calls for further research.
The 213-metre (699 ft) Visočica hill is where the Old town of Visoki was once sited. The idea that it constitutes an ancient artificial edifice was publicised by Bosnian author Semir Osmanagić. His subsequent excavations at the site have uncovered what he claims to be a paved entrance plateau and tunnels, as well as stone blocks and ancient mortar which he has suggested once covered the structure. Osmanagić has claimed that the dig involved an international team of archaeologists from Australia, Austria, Ireland, United Kingdom and Slovenia. However, many archaeologists he named have stated they had not agreed to participate and were never at the site. The dig began in April 2006, and has resulted in reshaping the hill, making it look like a Mayan step pyramid.
Osmanagić’s claims, widely reported in the mass media, have been categorically refuted by a number of experts, who have accused him of promoting pseudo-scientific notions and damaging archaeological sites with his excavations. Amar Karapus, a curator at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, said “When I first read about the pyramids I thought it was a very funny joke. I just couldn’t believe that anyone in the world could believe this.” Penn State University Professor Garrett Fagan is quoted as saying “They should not be allowed to destroy genuine sites in the pursuit of these delusions[…] It’s as if someone were given permission to bulldoze Stonehenge to find secret chambers of lost ancient wisdom underneath.”
Enver Imamović of the University of Sarajevo, a former director of the National Museum of Sarajevo, concerned that the excavations will damage historic sites such as the medieval royal capital Visoki, said that the excavations would “irreversibly destroy a national treasure”. Excavations by archaeologists not related to the Foundation in the summer of 2008 uncovered medieval artefacts and led to renewed calls for the government to cancel Osmanagić’s digging permits.
In response to the controversy, in his 2008 report, Nabil Swelim states,
The realization of the presence of the Bosnian pyramid hills have generated joy, anger and other reactions that range from reasonable to temperamental. The angry and temperamental who claim that there are no pyramids in Bosnia must know that in scientific research: negative evidence is no evidence.