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28 July 2010, JellyBean @ 6:40 pm

In 2005 Semir Osmanagi?, an expatriate Bosnian metalworker living in Texas, made a most startling announcement. The hills that surround the central Bosnian town of Visoko were not—as had always been thought—mere hills, but were in fact pyramids, man-made and ancient, built by a prehistoric civilisation that rivalled the ancient Egyptians in technological and cultural sophistication.

That Osmanagi?’s own consulted experts found his theories to be riddled with inaccuracies did not dissuade him. Nor did the fact that Bosnia was in an ice age 12,000 years ago, the time when the pyramids were supposedly built. Nor, either, did the fact that Bosnia’s inhabitants at the time were itinerant hunter gatherers, who built no permanent structures—let alone huge monoliths. Five years on, the archaeological digs continue unabated, and the tourists arrive in droves.

The pyramids have taken over every aspect of the town; they have become its identity. Stepping out of the bus station when I arrived in Visoko, looked up at a cluster of roadsigns; all of the local Visoko ones bore on their left side a stylised pyramid, yellow on white. Crossing the bridge into town, I saw what used to be the Motel Hollywood; now, inevitably, it has become the Motel Piramida Sunca. Local restaurants serve “pyramid pizza”. The town is gripped with pyramid fever.

I headed towards the “Pyramid of the Sun”, the most overtly pyramidal of the four claimed pyramids and the closest to the town. A large white sign welcomed me to the “world’s largest complex of pyramids”, and a perspex box filled with coins invited donations to help fund further research. Eventually, I came to the dig site. Inside trenches, Malaysian archaeologists carefully probed the ground, scraping the soil from what looked simply to be ordinary rocks. To the side, a large section of hillside was fenced off, its exposed stone on display to the world: made up mostly of breccia, it looked perfectly natural, and did not have even the illusion of design about it.

Read more: Balkan Insight

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