Personal Essay

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Case Study : Criteria of Credibility Pyramids in Bosnia? Posted in Unit 1 on Aug.12, 2006 When we think of pyramids, most us think of Egypt. According to an article in The Economist (August 12th-18th 2006 edition, page 34), historian Semir Osmanagic has suggested that we should think of Bosnia. He says that he has located three pyramids in Bosnia, over 12500 years old, one of which is significantly bigger than the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Taking the article at face value, how credible are Mr Osmanagic’s claims? First of all, on the positive side, his ability to see isn’t bad. Having speculated that a pyramid-shaped hill in the small town Visoko might in fact be a bona-fide pyramid, he has followed up his hunch by digging. The results of the archaeological surveys include what Mr Osmanagic has identified as ancient concrete and, elsewhere, paved walkways. If he has found pyramids in Bosnia, then he’s in a decent position to know that he has, so perhaps there is something to his claims. On the other hand, Mr Osmanagic’s expertise is more questionable. The article describes him as “a self-taught archaeologist” and “an amateur historian”. These are hardly the best of credentials for someone seeking rewrite pre-history. Those conventional historians who have come forward to reject his findings are relatively better qualified, and so more credible by this criterion. That there are pyramids in Bosnia is not Mr Osmanagic’s only controversial view; he has a reputation for backing alternative histories. He has previously written about the survivors of the lost city of Atlantis building pyramids in South America, and has been described by more orthodox academics as “a hallucinating lunatic”. As a witness, he’s probably not ideal. Given the nature of the claim that he’s making, more and better evidence is needed.

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