Last week a leading newspaper published what is most
likely an archeological
The world's oldest and largest “pyramid found in Bosnia”? The story indeed swept the media, from the Associated Press and the BBC, from papers and websites in the U.S. to those in India and Australia. Too bad that it is not a credible story at all. In fact, it is impossible. Who is the "archaeologist" who has taken the media for a ride? Why did the media not check the story more carefully?
Semir (Sam) Osmanagic, a Houston-based Bosnian-American contractor American contractor (seen above right) first saw the hills he believes to be pyramids last spring. He is now digging the largest of them and plans to continue the work through November, promoting it as the largest archaeological project underway in Europe. (His call for volunteers even slipped into the Archaeological Institute of America's online listing of excavation opportunities briefly before being yanked.) He claims it is one of five pyramids in the area (along with what he calls the pyramids of the Moon, Earth, and Dragon, plus another that hasn't been named in any account I've seen). These, he says, resemble the 1,800-year-old pyramids at Teotihuacan, just north of Mexico City. Osmanagic maintains that the largest is bigger than the pyramid of Khufu at Giza, and that the Bosnian pyramids date to 12,000 B.C.
Construction of massive pyramids in Bosnia at that period is not believable. Curtis Runnels, a specialist in the prehistory of Greece and the Balkans at Boston University, notes that "Between 27,000 and 12,000 years ago, the Balkans were locked in the last Glacial maximum, a period of very cold and dry climate with glaciers in some of the mountain ranges. The only occupants were Upper Paleolithic hunters and gatherers who left behind open-air camp sites and traces of occupation in caves. These remains consist of simple stone tools, hearths, and remains of animals and plants that were consumed for food. These people did not have the tools or skills to engage in the construction of monumental architecture."
But time and again the media reports say that Osmanagic has spent 15 years studying the pyramids of Latin America. What is not included in the reports is how Osmanagic interprets those structures and the cultures that built them. Had anyone bothered to investigate, they would have found rather bizarre notions in Osmanagic's book The World of the Maya (Gorgias Press, Euphrates imprint, 2005; $29.95). I had a look at the online edition of it (accessible on Osmanagic's "Alternative History" website at www.alternativnahistorija.com).
A couple of brief passages will convey the gist of Osmanagic's beliefs:
Ordinary watchmakers repair our watches and put them into accordance with Earthly time. It is my theory that the Maya should be considered watchmakers of the cosmos whose mission it is to adjust the Earthly frequency and bring it into accordance with the vibrations of our Sun. Once the Earth begins to vibrate in harmony with the Sun, information will be able to travel in both directions without limitation. And then we will be able to understand why all ancient peoples worshipped the Sun and dedicated their rituals to this. The Sun is the source of all life on this planet and the source of all information and knowledge. ...And with a frequency in harmony, the Earth will, via the Sun, be connected with the center of our Galaxy. These facts become exceptionally important when we realize that we are rapidly approaching December 2012, a date which the Maya have marked as the time of arrival of the Galactic Energy Cluster which will enlighten us.
The descendants of the Maya, the Lacandon Indians in Chiapas were discovered in the mid-twentieth century. This isolated community showed a surprising similarity to the Basque and Berber peoples (most probable descendants of the natives of Atlantis).... In the sacred Mayan book, the Popul Vuh, there are descriptions of cosmic travelers, the use of the compass, the fact that the Earth is round, and knowledge of the secrets of the universe.... The Mayan hieroglyphics tell us that their ancestors came from the Pleiades... first arriving at Atlantis where they created an advanced civilization.
Many cultures around the world, from India, Sumeria, Egypt, Peru, the Indians of North and Central America, the Inca and the Maya, call themselves the "Children of the Sun" or the "children of light." Their ancestors, the civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, erected the first temples on energy potent point of the Planet. Their most important function was to serve as a gateway to other worlds and dimensions.
And there it is. A self-described archaeologist, who believes the Maya and others are descended from Atlanteans who came from the Pleiades, has been accepted as a legitimate researcher by many news outlets. His ideas of early pyramids in Bosnia, which is simply not possible, has been accepted as a major discovery. How could this happen?
If you want to categorize this farce, it seems a standard-issue "amateur/maverick confounds establishment with great discovery" story, which no doubt makes it appealing to uncritical reporters looking for a big story. This kind of tale is a staple of the pseudoarchaeology or fantastic archaeology genre. And the term "pyramidiot" has been applied to those obsessed with pyramids and who offer strange interpretations of them on websites and in books and televsion programs. (See "Seductions of Pseudoarchaeology: Far Out Television").
Such stories infuriate serious scholars like Runnels. "These reports are irresponsible on the part of journalists," he says. "These claims are completely unsupported with any kind of factual evidence, such as artifacts or photographs of the alleged architectures. They have not been confirmed by archaeologists who have the training and competence to evaluate them. The person making the claims appears to have no training in archaeology and has not presented his finds in a way that would allow them to be scrutinized by trained experts. This is simply sensationalism and grandstanding and the journalists who have reported on these claims, without first fact-checking the stories with professional archaeologists, should be ashamed of themselves. People who believe these stories, especially when they are presented without evidence, are fools."
Some in the academic establishment have spoken out. They maintain that the kind of project Osmanagic is running is far worse than just misleading the gullible public. Following a report about Osmanagic in the London Times, Anthony Harding, president European Association of Archaeologists, wrote the editors, "The situation of professional heritage management in Bosnia-Herzegovina is, since the Bosnian war, in a poor state, with a tiny number of people trying to do what they can to protect their rich heritage from looting and unmonitored or unauthorised development. It adds insult to injury when rich outsiders can come in and spend large sums pursuing their absurd theories (the construction of a colossal pyramid so large that it dwarfs even those of Egypt or Mesoamerica? 12,000 years ago?), in ways that most other countries would never countenance, instead of devoting their cash to the preservation of the endangered genuine sites and monuments in which Bosnia-Herzegovina abounds."
Others fear that Osmanagic's excavations will damage real sites (the hill he calls the "Pyramid of the Sun" is said to have medieval, Roman, and Illyrian remains on it). In one of the few critical accounts of the Bosnian pyramid story, which appeared in the Art Newspaper, the University of Sarejevo's Enver Imamovic, a former director of the National Museum in Sarjevo, is quoted as saying, "This is the equivalent of letting me, an archaeologist, perform surgery in hospitals."
There is public outcry within Bosnia, and an online petition that seeks to shut down Osmanagic's project. But he apparently has backers within the federal government and the Sarejevo city government. Whether he is allowed to continue or not is unresolved for now, and his website makes no mention of any controversy. And even when the mainstream media catch up and realize that the "Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun" is no such thing, it will have entered the annals of fantastic archaeology and will have a multitude of believers and defenders, for other examples, read on.
The Mother of all Theocratic States: Lemuria
The Secret Doctrine, the foundational narrative for modern occultism, claimed to be a commentary on the "Archaic Records" contained in the Stanzas of Dzyan. As occult place making gathers momentum over the course of the century, other such fantasies of Lemuria's landscape follow. Although they lack the intimacy of the ancestral homeland of the Tamil devotee in Sri Lanka.
September 2004, Cult Archeology: Civilization
One Book (excerpt)
Megalithic pint, anyone? Although it is true that peoples had contacts through trade, and therefore the sharing of ideas, however megalithic structures on Malta most likely are not connected to the British Isles and vice versa. Instead Christopher Knight and Alan Butler create a new myth: ”Like the British Isles and Brittany, Malta and Israel have Megalithic structures scattered across them and the Old Testament gives detailed evidence of how the Canaanite rituals were adopted for king-making. The memory of these prehistoric secrets was transmitted by the remnants of the Order of the Knights Templar who took their rituals to Scotland at the beginning of the 14th century.”
Case Study 1: Cult Archeology Neo-Paganism
Editor: Like other ideas under discussion on this web site also Neo Paganism’s doctrinal and ritual elements are taken from the most diverse sources.
One of the first signs of our fascination with all things 'shamanic' in the second half of the twentieth century, is Mircea Eliade ‘s 1964 “Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy”.
"Increasing speculation, based on mounting evidence, leads me to the conclusion that the five women who left Los Angeles shortly after Carlos' death have committed suicide.
Daniel Pinchbeck is not the first who might be responsible for a popularization of mind altering substances, in fact and earlier "Noble Savage" popularization of native drugs took place during the second half of the 20th century by Carlos Castaneda.
J: When I was running a spiritual type bookstore in a good sized city, Marol Morgan's book Mutant Message Down under was still a self-published book that was doing quite well.
Although for example many South American shamans incorporate elements of Catholicism, astrology, mesmerism, Kardecism, etc. to enhance their power and authority.
Nigel Pennick's work and other similar writers today, give the impression of presenting a singular 'truth' about the past, but maybe the more obvious aim of such writers is more concerned with the present than the past, and how the past can be used to empower current ideas.
Stonehenge has been a site of political contest. On 25 March 1997, Kevin Carlyon 'illegally' entered the stones of Stonehenge to raise a Union Jack; he stated this was in reaction to the suggestion by archaeologists that Stonehenge was built by migrating people from what is now France 4,500 years ago.
Reburial' has been a central issue for archaeologists and anthropologists in the USA, Australia and elsewhere where the lobbying of indigenous communities for the repatriation and/or reburial of human remains and artefacts held by museums (and other institutions) has met increasing successes.
First, the FSS portrays its core-shamanism as 'shamanism' to indigenous people, when it is, as argued, a Western construction - indeed its appeal to 'core' features is reminiscent of Buhner's universalist approach.
Case Study : Cult Archeology, Atlantis
Numerous attempts have been made to rationalise Plato's myth and find a kernal of historical truth in it. Noble attempts to find this reality have been made by amongst others, J.V. Luce (1969) and Peter James (1996). All have failed.
Atlantis started with Plato and in his hands it was never a supercivilization of the sort conjectured by later authors; perhaps in strictly Greek terms it was no civilization at all but rather a fatally luxurious elaboration of an essentially barbarian way of life, for all its inception by a god.
Earlier the Theosophical, and next the Nazi ideology, horribly romantic, has been the most extreme and pernicious expression of the myth of the divinely sanctioned elite to date, and a far cry you might think from ideas of some secret brotherhood of wise old priests struggling to carry the torch of learning and spirituality down all the dark ages of prehistory and history.
The Atlantologists frequently present themselves as hurt and affronted by the rejection - or worse still the indifference - of the professionals. (Their hurt on occasions can take an oddly childish turn, like a schoolboy sulking over a low mark.) They put the professionals' attitude down to, at best, an unadventurous conformism that blinds them to the insights of the "alternative" camp.
The search for Atlantis will never end. And not all its searchers will wind up in outer space.
For Collins the considerable distance between the Sargasso and the Bahamas is accommodated by the suggestion that "in singling out the Sargasso Sea" (which is a huge assumption on Collins' part since there is nothing at all to suggest Plato was talking about the Sargasso) Plato was just trying to indicate the general location of his sunken island.
There follows in Collins Gateway to Atlantis, a detour into pre-Columbus legends of Antilia and the Seven Cities, El Dorado and the like.
In Collins’ Gateway to Atlantis an unusual landscape feature of the region, called the Carolina Bays in the Bahamas, is brought on as possible evidence of some antique commentary impact, rather like the Tunguska event of Siberia.
An October 2002 poll among cult archeologists revealed the majority today, believe that if Atlantis is not a fictional account by Plato (as historians and archeologists worldwide claim) it should in the Bahama Banks area.