Abacus goes around in ever-decreasing spirals

Article published on 11 April 2011

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During the last couple of weeks or so, readers of the SBRG website will have noticed some changes and updates.

One interesting point is that, in several instances, there seems to be a difference between what some English versions of the site are saying – for example, SB Research Group (Eng), and what appears on the Italian pages – for example, SB Research Group (It) [1].

In this example, the English version omits information found in the third and fourth paragraphs of the Italian version. The former states that: ”Sb Research Group is a multidisciplinary team, and it mainly belongs to two Italian Universities: University of Trieste Dipartimento Universitario Clinico di Biomedicina, section of Archeologia Odontoiatrica - and Politecnico of Milan - Dipartimento di Architettura e Pianificazione, Facoltà di Architettura e Società.”

The Italian version, on the other hand, says: “Questo progetto di ricerca coniuga elementi di due università italiane, Università degli Studi di Trieste e Politecnico di Milano, che hanno iniziato una collaborazione multidisciplinare nell’ambito territoriale della città di Visoko in Bosna i Herzegovina. In particolare, hanno manifestato preciso interesse in tal senso il Dipartimento Universitario Clinico di Biomedicina, sezione di Archeologia Odontoiatrica, Università degli Studi di Trieste, e il Dipartimento di Architettura e Pianificazione della Facoltà di Architettura e Società, Politecnico di Milano.” (“This research project combines elements from two Italian universities,the University of Trieste and the Polytechnic of Milan, which have begun a multi-disciplinary collaboration in the region of the town of Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In particular, the University of Trieste Clinical Department of Biomedicine - Dental Archaeology Section – and the Milan Polytechnic Planning and Architecture Department (School of Architecture) have indicated an explicit interest in being involved”).

One cannot help thinking that if, in the English version, the word “individuals” had been substituted for the word “elements” a clearer picture of the situation – essentially that of informal co-operation between individuals rather than an officially sanctioned project - might have been conveyed. However, the description does not mention by name any individuals belonging to these higher education establishments – although, as we saw in an earlier article, several members of the SBRG are connected with the University of Trieste and Milan Polytechnic. However, the impression given to Italian readers – although not necessarily to English readers - is that the research project undertaken by the SBRG has received the official endorsement of both the University of Trieste and Milan Polytechnic.

This impression is bolstered by the information on the SBRG Team Members [1], where it says that: “ … elements from two Italian universities … (are) working continuously with the Foundation ‘Archaeological Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun’ and other Bosnian institutions for a further discussion and dissemination of findings about the so-called ‘Visoko’s Civilization’”.

However, when I looked yet again at the webpage for the Milan Polytechnic School of Architecture, and also the Planning and Architecture Department (including the Projects and News pages, and the 2011 issue of the quarterly Department publication Territorio) seeking information about this new collaboration between Milan Polytechnic and the SB Research Group in the Visoko area, I had no greater success than previously.

Since the updated site homepage now has several banners on the left-hand side, I now turned my attention to them. Under “Riferimenti” (“Credits”) appear the logos of the Universitá di Trieste, and the Dipartimento Universitario Clinico di Biomedicina (University of Trieste - Clinical Department of Biomedicine). But nowhere on the Department of Biomedicine page is there any information about any collaboration between the University of Trieste Department of Biomedicine and the SB Research Group.

Under the “Laboratori” (“Laboratories”) banner appears one linked to ATOMKI, the Institute of Nuclear Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Although there are various international multi-disciplinary projects mentioned on the International projects page (including TRI-TOFFY, a Goal Oriented Training Network with German, Romanian, French, Italian, and Hungarian co-operation) I could find no mention of the SBRG or of any project taking place in Bosnia. Under Research activity - IV. Archeology, there is a brief reference (in the context of Hungary) to the investigation of the “Chronology of different cultures”; there are also more mentions of scientific and archaeological investigations on the Publications (Posters) page and Radiocarbon dating, although still no mention of the SBRG, even in the Links section.

But, in a document linked to a site under the final banner, “Congressi” (“Conferences”), the connection is at last made clear.

This “Congressi” banner contains a link to SAVE Heritage (Safeguard of Architectural, Visual, Environmental Heritage) (who are holding a conference in early June 2011). If we now go back to the top right of the SBRG home page, there, under “Articles”, we find a link to an article called Il Disegno della Storia; (there is an English version of this, The Design of History). The Italian and English versions of this page both contain a link to a PDF, available only in Italian, also entitled Il Disegno della Storia (PDF). This paper is by Lucia Krasovec Lucas, Paolo Debertolis, Senad Hodovic [2], Director of the Visoko Museum and Goran Antonic, also of the Visoko Museum; it appears beneath the SAVE logo. So has this paper been submitted, and will it figure amongst those accepted for inclusion at the June 2011 SAVE Conference?

Whether or not this is so, the paper contains the following interesting statement: “La ricerca in corso interessa l’ambito territoriale di Visoko, città situata nella parte centrale della Bosnia I Herzegovina a circa 30 km nord di Sarajevo, dove si sta avviando un progetto di studio interdisciplinare in collaborazione con l’Università di Trieste, il Politecnico di Milano e il Museo della città di Visoko.” (The research currently being undertaken involves the geographical area of Visoko, a town in central Bosnia and Herzegovina approximately 30 km north of Sarajevo, where there is in progress an interdisciplinary study project in collaboration with the University of Trieste, Milan Polytechnic and Visoko Museum). So, once again, the reader is given the impression that this project has actually been sanctioned by the University of Trieste and Milan Polytechnic. But, as it will be recalled, efforts to find details of this study project on the websites of either institution have so far met with scant success. And a search on the website of the Visoko Zavicajni Muzej (Visoko Town Museum) also reveals … no mention of the SBRG (although on this page appears some discussion of problems concerning excavation funding for the “pyramids) [3]. However, on page 3, the role of the Institute of Nuclear Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences at last becomes clear: they are carrying out Carbon 14 tests on human remains found in the proximity of the mediaeval stone slabs known as stecák, or stecci [4] (Let us hope that the results of such tests will meet with better success than those on the fossilized wood from the Ravne Tunnel).

“Il Disegno della Storia” goes on to suggest, inter alia, that the symbols found on stecák might have their roots in the Neolithic. Other examples of such symbols are also to be found in Sardinia, where the SBRG are now proposing to extend their research with a particular study of such places as the Tomba della Scacchiera (Chequered Tomb); this tomb contains painted spirals which the SBRG believe bear such a resemblance to the spirals found on some stecák that there must be a connection.

But what could be the connection between the spirals found on stecák, and the “pyramids”? An article published by Amer Kovačević PhD, who is mentioned in Irna’s article, in February 2008 on the Bosnian Pyramid Foundation website, “Bosnian Stecci: The reference to Bosnian Pyramids” [5] asks: “Do these stecci represent the reference to the Bosnian pyramids, and, if they are the parts of the actual pyramids? What do those spirals represent within the pyramid? Are they perhaps the vortexes of the mysterious energy that Russian academics measured last year and mentioned that it is hiding within the megalithic structures?”

Presumably with this supposed connection to “mysterious energy” in mind, a second article linked to on the SBRG “Disegno della Storia” page, “We recorded the ‘voice’ of the Pyramid of the Sun [6], describes the trip made by the team to Visoko on 24th-25th January 2011, with the purpose of transforming ultrasound at the site of the “Pyramid of the Sun” into audible sound with a compandor, as suggested by the team’s instrument expert, Giorgio Battistoni.

In the UK, the idea of measuring ultrasound at ancient sites achieved some prominence back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when a series of experiments that were part of what became known as the “Dragon Project” was carried out at the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire. The ultrasound measurements themselves – which seemed most prominent in the winter months, and sometimes at certain times of day - were carried out by an inorganic chemist, Don Robins, and described in his book, “Circles of Silence” [7]. (A brief article about Robins’ experiments appeared in the New Scientist) [8]. Although it was difficult to know what conclusions, if any, could be drawn from these experiments and findings, the general suggestion seemed to be that the builders of such monuments could somehow sense the presence of ultrasound and radiation anomalies at these sites. Whatever the truth of this, the Rollright Stones have continued to exert considerable influence on some researchers – including Harry Oldfield, whose work has been discussed by Irna in this article [9], and who is also mentioned by the SBRG in “We recorded the ‘voice’ of the Pyramid of the Sun.”

Despite the intriguing nature of the phenomena that it was attempting to measure, the original Dragon Project unfortunately never reached any very notable finale. The conclusion of the SBRG article on the readings obtained at the Pyramid of the Sun is that: “Such sounds cannot be heard by human ears and therefore can be ascribed to the womb of the Sun Pyramid.”

But, if there is no “pyramid”, and if, as has been argued by reputable geologists and archaeologists for several years now, it is purely a natural geological phenomenon, then all that the SBRG team will have succeeded in doing is simply to record anomalies that are present in the natural environment anyway. Furthermore, trying to relate these anomalies to pictorial representations of spirals on stone slabs that are widely accepted as dating to the mediaeval, and not the Neolithic, is an exercise fraught with difficulty: as is the attempt to relate them to spirals found in Sardinia. Representations of spirals are found in many cultures, one notable example being at Newgrange, in Ireland. Will the SBRG shortly be turning their attentions to the monuments there … ?

Notes :

[1These introductory pages have been modified several times by the site owner.

[2Mentioned by Irna in several articles, including this one.

[3As also described in Irna’s article here.

[4Discussed – with numerous bibliographical links - by Irna here and here.

[5For some reason, it does not seem possible to download the images that accompany the article.

[7Besides equipment that measured ultrasound the researchers also used Geiger counters to measure radiation. Although radiation is, of course, present everywhere in the environment – including bananas – some anomalies were found to be present at Rollright, and also in Cornish stone circles.

[8(The New Scientist article is referenced on page 137 of “Circles of Silence”)../

[9His work is also discussed here.

Comment on this article
Abacus goes around in ever-decreasing spirals
Irna - on 11 April 2011

Hi Abacus,

thank you for this in-depth analysis. What surprises me much is this: "è stata avviata in parallelo anche una ricerca antropologica sui resti umani ritrovati in prossimità degli stećak" (in parallel was launched also an anthropological study of human remains found in the vicinity of the stećak). I don’t know how it is in your country, but I know for sure that in France you can’t go like that excavating human remains in a medieval graveyard and sending them to analysis, even if you are an archaeologist rather than a dentist or an architect... You need official authorizations, and a project backed by a scientific institution. As far as I know, the Foundation does not have permits to excavate elsewhere than at Pljesevica and Vratnica. But maybe the Zavicajni Muzej in Visoko is behind that; after all, that would not be the first time that Senad Hodovic gives his support to a pseudoscientific enterprise...

Cordially, Irna

Abacus goes around in ever-decreasing spirals
Abacus - on 11 April 2011

Hi Irna,

In my country, too, there are many problems and difficulties concerned with the study of human remains. You have to follow set procedures and protocols, and there are numerous permissions and licences to be obtained before any research can be carried out. Certainly, I don’t know quite what the position is as regards taking human remains from Bosnia to be carbon dated in Hungary.

Over the last few weeks, however, Professor Debertolis has been at pains to emphasize that he is not so much a dentist, more a forensic odontologist. And, as you explain in your article, "The Dentist, the Architect", he runs a medico-legal odontology course (as described in the link below), and must therefore be perfectly aware of the various legal procedures and requirements associated with ancient human remains. I’m certain, therefore, that we can rest assured that he and his colleagues have followed these to the letter, and have complied fully with all legal requirements.

Of course, one would feel even more reassured about this project if one could only be certain of the official involvement of the University of Trieste and Milan Polytechnic, rather than merely of some individuals who simply happen to work for those establishments. As you know, I have so far been unable to find any evidence that this is the case - although I shall, of course, continue to look.




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