A broken stecak (medieval gravestone) from Visocica hill. Photo from the Hall of Ma’at.
Osmanagić named his pyramid in Bosnia after the pyramid of the same name in Mexico, so I thought to write about the similarities of the Mexican Pyramid of the Sun and the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun today. Here goes.
They both have the narrow end at the top.
Of more interest is something I’ve found in the Hall of Ma’at. They’ve been discussing the saga of the Bosnian Pyramid and its effect on the local archaeological sites. One possible site is a medieval graveyard. Some graveyards in the Balkans are quite special and it appears that the one on Visocica hill was one of them. They have gravestones known as stecci (singular: stecak). According to the Bosnian Institute stecci are one of the items that are distinctively Bosnian rather than Balkan. There are a few found outside Bosnia, but the vast majority are specifically attached to Bosnian identity. As a collection they form a unique body of artfacts which can tell us what was special about these people in the past. What was it that made the different from their neighbours?
Sadly there are a few less that we can usefully study now, because Osmanagić is excavating the site with earth-moving equipment. Anything which doesn’t fit the pyramid ideal risks going crunch as it’s scraped off the bedrock. Enver Imamovic of the University of Sarajevo, a former director of the National Museum of Sarajevo, concerned that the excavations will damage historic sites such as the medieval royal capital of Visoki, said that the excavations would “irreversibly destroy a national treasure”.
Osmanagić isn’t the first person to bulldoze their way to their destination. Schliemann employed similar techniques in hammering his way into Troy. Ironically Schliemann’s tunnel vision meant he destroyed much of Priam’s Troy, the city he was looking for, and dug through to an earlier level. Similarly Osmanagić appears to be destroying evidence that would bolster his story too.
For instance if there really was a pyramid under the hill, wouldn’t it be interesting to say how the pyramid came to be lost as time went on? How did its feature’s come to obscured by resettlement? What’s the big story about the site? If Osmanagić’s excavation goes well he will at least be able to point to the stripped hill where the Bosnian capital once stood and say “Look it’s a pyramid!” but it would be nice to be able to say more.
As the stecci show though, if Osmanagić is wrong then he’ll have demolished a site at the heart of Bosnia at a time when it was becoming distinctively Bosnian. He’ll achieve what the artillery failed to do in eradicating the landscape of its Bosnian past.
The Accidental Weblog’s entry Trampling History which I can agree with including the line Wow, I kinda wish it would turn out, despite all that is sane, to be true. Because it’s always nice to discover that there’s so much new stuff to be uncovered about the past.
The best photo on the topic is found at Orbis Quintus.