While uncovering no evidence of pyramids, an excavation team this summer did find many medieval artefacts.
By Jusuf Ramadanovic for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo -- 18/09/08
Bosnian explorer and archaeological enthusiast Semir Osmanagic points at excavated stone fragments discovered on Mt. Visocica in BiH. Osmanagic, a business owner in the United States, has spent tens of thousands of euros seeking Europe's first pyramids. [Getty Images]
Summer excavations at Bosnia and Herzegovina's Mt. Visocica yielded results, but not the kind an entrepreneur turned amateur archaeologist was looking for. Semir Osmanagic, a US businessman of BiH origin, has invested large amounts of his own money in a personal quest to unearth what he says are Europe's first pyramids.
His claims have not yet been corroborated. Instead, an archeological team said over the summer that it has unearthed significant artefacts from a more recent era. These include eight pieces of Gothic architectural carvings and parts of glass vials dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, imported from Venice and principalities of today's Germany, as well as numerous pieces of ceramic. They have also found 20 silver objects dating from the 15th-century.
"This demonstrates that much attention was devoted to the town where the medieval Bosnian kings resided from time to time," team leader Lidija Fekeza told the media. "Once we remove the ... vegetation from the top of Mt. Visocica, we will finally see how this medieval Bosnian locality used to look," she added.
Not everyone welcomes the research. On August 7th, vandals suspected of political opposition to the study of medieval Bosnian statehood flung a stone slab into a well of the old fortress. References to the medieval town of Visoki, on top of Mt. Visocica, appeared in writing for the first time in 1355; however, archaeologists believe its construction dates back as early as the 12th century. They consider it, along with the ancient royal town of Bobovac in central Bosnia, one of the most significant historical finds in BiH.
According to the archaeologists, Visoki played a significant role in the medieval Bosnian state. Officials penned some landmark documents in this town-fortress, most pertaining to trade deals of the old Bosnian state with the then-existing Dubrovnik Republic.
BiH scholars have demanded that the government cancel permits for digging atop Mt. Visocica issued to Osmanagic, the self-proclaimed archaeologist.
In a collective statement, archaeologists blasted his insistence that pyramids were built on the site. "This comedy is not backed by official science or experts, archaeologists or historians. ... Anyone with minimum reasonable education knows what age, area and civilisation such buildings belong to," it said.
Among its signatories is Sarajevo University archaeology professor Enver Imamovic, who called for more funds to be spent on legitimate research. "Bosnia and Herzegovina today, although it has a 120-year-old archaeological tradition, has failed to invest a single dime in the still-unexplored [medieval] sites," he said.