Enquête sur les pyramides de Bosnie et quelques autres cas de pseudo-archéologie
Article published on 18 June 2007
One of the reproaches made by the Bosnian scientific institutions to Mr. Osmanagic’s Foundation is the total lack of scientific documentation on the "excavations" made in 2006 (see for instance the opinion on this point of the Bosnian Academy of Sciences, that thinks that this lack makes any serious evaluation of the project impossible); Mr. Osmanagic and his team reply to this reproach (for instance in this text (bs) which is an answer to the Minister of Culture Gavrilo Grahovac’s critical letter) by explaining that
thousands of photographs are visible on the Foundation website - true, but photos and videos are not a scientific report
a report on the 2006 excavations has been published in February 2007.
This "excavation report", with the title "Report on the research program for the year 2006", actually exists and can be downloaded (bs) on the Foundation website or below. But what is the actual content of this "report"?
Let’s first notice that, among the 63 pages of the report, 32 contain only photographs or scans of various documents; 31 pages of text (among which a notable part consist of thanks, summary, list of addressees...), it is not very much for such gigantic excavations: Mr. Osmanagic says that there were in 2006 150,000 work hours on 39 different probes, by no less than 60 employed people, not to mention the volunteers and foreign scientists.
After 7 pages of generalities, thanks and summary, page 8 presents the events of the year 2005: "discovery" of the first pyramid by Mr. Osmanagic, first geological probes and conclusions drawn by Mr. Osmanagic and his at that time chief geologist Nadija Nukic. The following pages do not offer any new information, as they contain a vague summary of what I have called Mr. Osmanagic’s "preliminary evidence", geological probes, satellite analysis, "geodetic" analysis . None of these elements, that I have already commented last year in this part, can have any value as evidence or even scientific argument to support Mr. Osmanagic’s hypothesis.
Pages 12 and 13 give a summary of what the research project was for the first years, then page 14 mentions again the various probe holes made in 2005 and 2006 on Visocica and Pljesevica: some of these holes went 200 meters down, and yielded no less than "3000 kg" of stones that have to be "analysed". Here is a first example of a method that is often used in this report and in other Foundation documents: we are given a long list of all possible analyses that could possibly be performed on such samples; the reader is drowned under impressing scientific words ("mineralo-petrographic, sedimentologic, X-rays, differential thermal, thermogravimetric analyses, then datation analyses using radioactive isotope of carbon, oxygen, potassium-argon, rubidium-strontium dating methods, then micro- and macro-paleontological analyses, chemical, geochemical and other analyses, beside physico-mechanical and geo-mechanical analyses...") evidently aimed at giving a veneer of scientificity - what the Sarajevo Museum scientists called "dust in the eyes" of the layman...
At last, at the end of page 14, are mentioned the excavations made in 2006. One would expect of an excavation report that it offers a detailed archaeological plan of the excavation; here is what this Foundation "report" offers by way of archaeological plan and map of the excavated areas:
If you never had the opportunity to see an archaeological plan, here is an instance from the excavations made on the celtic oppidum of Mont Vully in Switzerland:
and the detailed plan of a small area:
or the archaeological plan of the gallo-roman tile factory of Moissey in France:
The comparison doesn’t need any comment... Not only this "report" doesn’t contain any plan of any part of the excavations, but the Foundation never published any such plan elsewhere.
No archaeological plan, no photograph either of most of the excavated areas, only a few ones are shown, among other photographs whose value in a scientific work is quite dubious, like this one:
The captions of the few photographs showing excavated areas on Visocica (fig. 11, 13 and 14) mention either slabs of "breccia" or slabs of sandstone; however the text claims that the photographs show "a concrete surface". What proof, what scientific argument does this "report" present supporting this hypothesis of gigantic concrete slabs? Quotation:
"Just arrived from his trip, Dr Barakat, at dawn on the 28th of April 2006, visited along with Professor Muris Osmanagic the pyramid of the Sun, and he payed a particular attention to the probe hole S-4C. After a careful examination from every angle, and a testing of the surface of the megalithic breccia blocks with his little hammer, he softly whispered: ’These are cast concrete blocks, identical to those of the Egyptian pyramids in Gizeh’."
Shall we have to call Dr Barakat "The Pseudo-scientist Whisperer"? The good Doctor’s whispers have never been confirmed by any written text; after a 40 days stay in Visoko in 2006, and even when he is systematically used, like a few others, as scientific guarantee by Mr. Osmanagic, one could never see even the beginning of a report or of scientific written conclusions by Mr. Barakat . Why doesn’t Mr. Barakat write his scientific conclusions, instead of whispering them to Mr. Osmanagic’s father? Or, if they were written, why doesn’t the Foundation publish them?
Page 16, and photographs 16 to 20, are devoted to the "pyramid of the Moon"; one can find there again, with no more proofs or arguments than usual, the same assertions repeated for more than a year, trying to make of Pljesevica geological phenomena various "pavements", "mosaics", "steps" and so on (see here for an explanation of these phenomena). The existence of a wall of which "all archaeologists and geologists [...] agree that it must be of human origin" is mentioned. Indeed, there is on Pljesevica a rectangular structure (see here); the report confirms that "the Greek archaeologist Nancy Gallou has long and meticulously worked" on this structure during the summer months of 2006, but nowhere is the result of this work mentioned! How can one imagine that a professional archaeologist could work for weeks in this structure, and that there is nothing to publish, no report, no plan , not even a few conclusions? This structure is the single artifact discovered during 2006, and the Foundation has nothing more to say about it? Either that’s a case of total incompetence, or the archaeologist’s conclusions did not "fit" to Mr. Osmanagic’s theories, and the absence of her conclusions in this "report" can only confirm the suspicions that the Foundation is hiding some findings .
Let’s pass over the words by the Egyptian Professor Mohamed Ibrahim Aly who, like his colleague Dr Barakat, never gave more than a few vague and general declarations to the local newspapers; we now find, on page 17, the third place excavated in 2006, the hill of Toprakalija near Vratnica (figures 21 to 24). There again, the single "argument" supporting an artificial origin for the hill is a photograph of sandstone blocks; the report adds two photographs of "artifacts" found near the excavations. One is a "stone monument":
of which it is said that it looks like a cow; and the "report" adds that the cow "used to be sacred in all pagan peoples" and that it is still so in India. The second artifact:
is described as a "two-sided human foot" that could fit to "a male shoe size 45" ; the report makes the hypothesis (founded on the presence of "fingers" at each side of the "foot", by which it could be ascertained that the foot could not be shortened without anybody being aware of it) that this sandstone "foot" has been used as "standard" for the measurement of lengths, and that it could be the ancestor of roman foot, medieval foot and today English foot...
Pages 18 to 21 present the results of two analyses of sandstone and conglomerate samples taken on the hills of Visocica and Pljesevica. The first analysis is the one, already commented here, of the Tuzla Civil Engineering Institute (GIT), and, as usual, this report claims that this analysis shows lot of things that in fact it does not show. The single document given is a scan of one of the pages sent by the GIT in July 2006 as "preliminary results"; so that it is evident now that the GIT never gave a final report, and that the single document used by the Foundation is that series of preliminary results described in this article. I have no idea what the GIT engineers have said orally to Mr. Osmanagic, but their written preliminary results certainly do not show the existence of "construction material", nor of "concrete type MB60 that doesn’t exist in nature", nor any similarity between the "connection material" of the different places. Here is by the way an obvious instance of disinformation, about this "cement" between the blocks: the report claims that the laboratory analysis (by titration) shows a quantity of 76,77% CaCO3 in a sample from the "pyramid of the Moon", and that "a very similar percent of Calcium carbonate has been found in the samples taken on the pyramid of the Sun and on Toprakalija". However the figures given by the GIT (published on the Foundation website (bs) itself) are, for the two other analyses made by titration of samples from Visocica, 40,36% and 97,64%!!!
The second analysis was made by a German company (LGA Bautechnik GmbH). It relates first to the mechanical characteristics of two samples from the two "pyramids": both have similar compressive strength, about 49 MN/m2 (or MPa), which, contrary to what the Foundation report claims, is nothing extraordinary. The chemical composition of 5 samples has been searched by EDX (or EDS: Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy); for once the Foundation cannot be accused of retaining informations, as are included in the report the resulting spectra (fig. 25 to 29), the only problem is that we are not given the origin of the samples, for which is only given a number, we do not even know which ones come from Visocica and which ones from Pljesevica! One cannot know, either, what exactly has been analysed: as the samples are from clastic rocks, have the clasts been analysed, the cement, or both? In my opinion the publication of these spectra is once again "dust in the eyes": all that we can learn from them is that the 5 samples contain a high quantity of carbonate, traces of iron, and that two of them (n° 2 and 5) contain a more important part of silica. None of these facts can allow any archaeological conclusion.
Pages 22 and 23 are devoted to the two tunnels and their "reconstruction". One can learn, among technical informations on the tunnels "rebuilding", that the tunnel called "KTK" contained two "artifacts", a "three-headed dragon":
and an "unknown idol":
found not in the tunnel but near the river under its opening. One can also see, reading the paragraph about the Ravne tunnel, that Mr. Muris Osmanagic, who wrote a series of texts about this tunnel and the mysterious "proto-script" that it is said to contain, has at last found enough free time to read the geological map of Visoko region, as, instead of calling the Miocene conglomerate in which the tunnel is dug "marine breccia", he now calls it "lacustrine/marine breccia" - that doesn’t mean anything, but is slightly more fitting with the geological facts, as this conglomerate has been deposited in a lacustrine environment, see here.
The "Visoko proto-script" of course is not forgotten in this "report", with the list of 51 symbols that Mr. Osmanagic Senior claims to have identified on a "megalith". One can notice however that the Foundation doesn’t show any more than in the previous documents on the subject the photographs of these 51 symbols: all we are given is the same "artistic view" of the megalith and its symbols sketched by Mr. Osmanagic Senior (fig. 37), and the same much viewed photographs of the same few symbols. That the Foundation never found the time or the means, since the "megalith" was discovered a year ago, to have correct photographs of each symbol made, says a lot either about the incompetence of the team, or about the reality of the symbols...
That doesn’t prevent the report to offer an interpretation of the "script" with the most valuable help of Mr. Paulo Stekel, Brazilian "independant searcher". Mr. Stekel is a writer, and self-claimed expert in "hierolinguistics", a "science" devoted to the "study of sacred languages" of which he is at the same time the creator and the single practitioner. He is also the author of one of the numerous decipherments of Glozel tablets (en) . The joint interpretation by Mr. Stekel and Mr. Osmanagic Senior, that presents the "Visoko proto-script" as the ancestor of "Glozel alphabet" as well as of all the "European and world-wide" alphabets, lacks only two tiny details to obtain the slightest beginning of validity:
that the "Visoko proto-script" had any reality
and that the date and origin of Glozel symbols were not so dubious...
The last part of the 2006 "report", from page 26 to page 29 (pages 30 and 31 contain only a summary of the projects for the following year and a list of the addressees), is an acme in the art of "flabbergasting"  the layman. It is devoted to two series of measurements, seismometric by a team from Belgrade Faculty of Mines and Geology, georadar by the already mentioned German company LGA Bautechnik GmbH. In both cases, the most part of the text consists of rather uninteresting details and technical precisions about the way the study took place (studied areas, number of research days, weather on these days, number of technicians working, number of measurement points...). The documents given are for a part totally useless photographs taken by Mr. Muris Osmanagic on the ground; the only documents from LGA Bautechnik come from a preliminary report and are given without any comment from the company experts. A radargram or seismometric measurements are absolutely not understable by most people: they can offer an interest only when analysed and interpreted by experts. But the Foundation never published the reports, neither of the Serbian experts nor of the German ones. What is the point of publishing such documents, not interpreted, in this "excavation report", except with the aim of making an impression on the non expert readers, beginning with the numerous politicians and journalists to whom it was sent ?
In the 60 pages "study" (bs) sent in answer to the Minister of Culture after his decision to withdraw the excavation authorization on Visocica, the German study is again mentioned , and scans of 4 pages of the report are given: three are again photographs without a comment, the last one is a very general conclusion on the existence of underground "inhomogenities", that allowed, for some areas that "looked interesting" for excavations, to conclude that "excavations are not necessary" when these inhomogenities were absent, and to mark areas were anomalies could make excavations interesting - but the Foundation doesn’t offer a map of these marked areas. That is all we will learn from these expensive  investigations: that the three areas, Visocica, Pljesevica and Vratnica, present "anomalies" and "inhomogenities". Let’s stress the fact that all kinds of natural anomalies and inhomogenities can exist (faults, stratification joints, variations of composition in the layers, natural cavities...), and that the geophysical techniques, if they can offer a precious help for archaeological survey and study of underground structures, cannot, by themselves, offer any proof of the existence of such structure.
Last, as a definitive conclusion to this "report" that is everything except a real excavation report, the Foundation offers this most definitive document:
pompously called "international validation"...
 With, by the way, a quite funny use of vocabulary, as the notion of "imagery" is rendered by "imaginacija": every Bosnian dictionary I could find confirms that it can be translated only as "imagination"; geodetic imagination, that’s a revealing lapsus calami!
 It is true that he never, either, denied any of the things that Mr. Osmanagic’s team claimed he had said; the position of the Egyptian scientist, as well as the one of some of his colleagues like Professor Ibrahim Aly or Professor Andretta, is quite strange: on the one hand they seem to support entirely the Foundation project (see for instance this article (bs) by an Egyptian journalist), but on the other hand not one of them ever wrote the slightest piece of scientific text supporting the hypothesis at the basis of this project. Are they afraid of compromising too much their reputation as scientists? or are they lacking real scientific arguments, and is their support to Mr. Osmanagic more "politic" than scientific?
 Still, a little bit farther in the same report, it is claimed that Mrs. Gallou makes a serious work, with daily records and plans...
 This discovery gives the opportunity for an extraordinary advancement in scientific anthropology: the width of this foot being 9 cm, the Foundation team is said to have taken measurements in Sarajevo of male and female feet, and to have found the same width of 9 cm; so that it can be deduced that the size of the inhabitants’ feet of what is today Bosnia has not changed since the last Ice Age...
 Let’s remind the reader that the vaguely Phoenician symbols found at Glozel have had a great number of interpretations and decipherments, each more accurate and definitive than the previous ones, and that they have been identified as Basque, Chaldean, Berber, Hebrew, Turkish... See for instance a list of translations and decipherments during the years 1920-1930 (fr), 1970-1990 (fr), 2000 (fr)...
 I really love this English word, and have tried to put it somewhere for months :-)
 With this detail: the study being in English, 4 pages only could be translated in Bosnian for the use of "the scientists that don’t understand English"... I have never seen a worst pretext as this one!
 The Foundation claims having paid 50,000 KM (convertible marks) for these studies - it makes all the more surprising the fact that they could not find the necessary 200 or 300 euros for a datation of the skeletons found on Visocica before their mysterious vanishing!