WORLD'S LARGEST PYRAMID? or "HOAX?"
Interview by Francesco Garufi
for Melusina Editoriale - November of 2006
(This article was modified from the original to adjust for internet content, images and first person.)
Francesco 1) Over the past months rumors have spread about the existence, in Bosnia, of artifacts such as pyramid shaped buildings. This subjects creates an ever increasing interest among our readers, as almost every day we hear about new exciting findings. Could you update us on the current situation? Maybe you could start by describing how and when you first took an interest in the subject.
Dowell: It was early 2006 when I first read about the possibility of pyramids in Bosnia; I was stunned. Semir Osmanagic, a Bosnian-American businessman living in Houston, Texas, with a passion for pyramids claimed he had found Europe’s largest and most ancient pyramids. The size of the ’Sun Pyramid’ was to exceed the size of the Great Pyramid in Egypt by one third and Semir conceived the date of their construction being 12,000 years ago. Those two issues were astonishing enough, but there was a third element to the story seemingly even more extreme; the ancient civilization responsible for constructing the pyramids came from the Pleiades with a ‘Mayan’ flair. I searched the Internet and collected as many articles as I could. I found high profile international news agencies reporting conflicting stories and message boards containing postings of Semir’s claims; nothing made sense to me.
Everything I read was so ludicrous it actually peaked my curiosity of how could someone be so bold as to claim pyramids as such, and without even being an archaeologist or holding any degrees in the natural sciences. And how could it be that Semir Osmanagic and his Archeological Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation receive so much international press on such a bizarre claim? I felt there must be more behind all of the exaggerated claims and hype. Why were these claims being made and how could they be supported? There must be some authentic evidence to substantiate them --after all there were (poor resolution) photographs displaying what were claimed to be man-made pavements and huge tumbled stone slabs once being great structural walls; and of course images of the mysterious tunnel burrowing its way through the ancient pyramidal complex. I wanted to go to Bosnia and see for myself what was really going on. I contacted the Pyramid of the Sun Foundation on a whim and spoke with Mario Gerussi and offered my services and Semir Osmanagic got on the line. I then contacted Robert Schoch and encouraged him to go with me.
Francesco 2) Once again, rumors claim that noted archaeologists, such as Dr. Zahi Hawass, who are supposed to be studying the Bosnian Pyramids are actually not involved in this matter what so ever. Could you please tell us what, and if, you know about this matter?
Dowell: On June 27th, 2006 Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Arab Republic of Egypt Ministry of Culture’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, responded with an official open letter to Mr. Mark Rose, Editor of the online  Archaeology Magazine answering inquires on his standing in regards to Semir Osmanagic, the alleged pyramids in Bosnia and Dr. Ali Abdallah Barakat.  To quote Dr. Hawass from his statements contained in his online open letter; “Mr. Barakat, the Egyptian geologist working with Mr. Osmanagic, knows nothing about Egyptian pyramids. He was not sent by the SCA [Supreme Council of Antiquities, of Egypt], and we do not support or concur with his statements.”
In fact,  in early 2006, Semir Osmanagic requested in writing for assistance of any Egyptian experts from The Embassy of the Arabian Republic of Egypt in Sarajevo. It was from this initial association with the local Egyptian Embassy in Sarajevo, Dr. Ali Abdallah Barakat was referred. [His name is also spelled various other ways when translated from the Arabic, such as Ali Abdallah Berekat and Aly Abd Alla Barakat.] More so, claims are still being made by Mr. Osmanagic and his Foundation that more Egyptians have arrived under the direction of Dr. Hawass, despite Dr. Hawass’s letter.
In closing Dr. Hawass sates:
“Other archaeologists, such as a specialist in Prehistory at the National Museum in Sarajevo named Zellika, have stated that Mr. Osmanagic is giving out false information. What can Mr. Osmanagic use to show the age of the “pyramid?” No archaeological materials have been found near the pyramid. Mr. Osman[ag]ic’s [spelling incorrect in the original] theories are purely hallucinations on his part, with no scientific backing.”
Dr. Zahi Hawass
Secretary General, SCA
Francesco 3) Now, something about your visit in Bosnia dating and of July 2006. Could you please tell us your impressions and describe the research techniques you used?
Dowell: Upon our arrival in Bosnia, after our exhausting journey overseas, Semir picked us up at the airport and drove us from Sarajevo to Visoko redundantly commenting on the ancient man-made pyramids and their cosmic ancient builders. There was no room for cross conversation about the possibility of the structures being of natural origin and that sometimes geological features can mimic amazing feats such as man-made walls, steps, and tunnels. When we came to our hotel we were immediately interviewed about our thoughts and intentions surrounding our investigation of the pyramids, fed a meal, and then we directly hiked up Visocica Hill still bombarded by Semir’s redundant comments of, ”Visocica Hill could not have been shaped like this by nature….” And his discovery, “Will change world history…and bring this tiny little country Bosnia respect at last…..” I was about to faint.
I acquired my State Board of California General Contractors License in 1986. My specialty was building design and monumental structures working with concrete, block, stone, brick, and tile with knowledge of all of the building trades. I have traveled around the world studying the design and building methods of ancient sites, including pyramids, stone circles, tumuli, barrows, dolmens, quoits, temples, mounds, cathedrals of various ages and heritage, as well as being involved in restoration of historical sites. My first impression and thought when I stepped on Visocica Hill was, “Where are the remnants of any part of a foundation for such a colossal monument and where are the man-made stones?” I had brought my line levels, squares, compasses, a fifty-foot reel of measuring tape, English and Metric measuring devices, and all of my little gadgets and graph paper I use to draw schematics of any interesting details. I also had my video and still photography camera, tape recorders, and dictators to record and document ‘history in the making.’ But my gut feeling and what I was experiencing was not of authenticity, it was a farce, phony, not real; what I saw was parts of a hill being chopped, carved, and manufactured into bits of a pyramid that somewhat resembled Central American pyramids. I was flabbergasted. I was in the midst of a huge hoax and commercial enterprise that was politically motivated --and I knew it. Then there was the infamous tunnel, whoa, what a surprise; it was just as unreal as the hills we were hiking, but extremely dangerous. For the duration of our stay, the scenario repeated itself day after day, unless we were at a real ancient locale finding peace and beauty such as Radimlje, an ancient cemetery with stecci located in Herzegovina.
Francesco 4) Once again, rumors claim the above mentioned pyramids were possibly built some 12/15000 years ago. Is there any scientific evidence to support such statements?
Dowell: Dr. Schoch and I looked for the bases of the pyramids, there were none, there were no defined ridges, the faces of the hills were not aligned with the cardinal points; at times depending on where you were standing, they were out 30 degrees or more from straight alignment. There was no methodology of intelligent design applied to any layout of any structure or the pyramidal complex; only random points of excavated areas. There were no foundations of any kind, no concrete, no man-made blocks, no walls, joints or beams, corners, arches, geometry or constructed facets of any ancient structures. We did see however modern makeshift rock walls, cracked natural stone slabs brushed and polished as if they were man-made tile or laid stone pavements and an old well at the top of Pljesevica Hill, known as ‘The Pyramid of the Moon.’ So the answer is no, we never saw any scientific evidence to support any of Semir’s claims.
Francesco 5) What were you able to find out about the supposed existence of tunnels, tombs and ancient scripts? Was there anything of the sort? Please tell us about it.
Dowell: I was most excited about studying the tunnel after reading a report sent to us by a geologist who had previously entered and examined the tunnel. However, I was shocked by the discrepancy of the report and definition of the tunnel when I first made way into the entrance. The report was not accurate at all, and by no means were we safe. The tunnel was very small and wet, when you touched many parts of a wall or ceiling, it would start to break away and collapse. There was graffiti and garbage in it, there were no ancient carved monoliths at the entrance of it or at any junction points within. There were a few huge stone slabs with debris collapsing and collecting on them. I removed some of the debris on one stone slab and found a little symbol resembling the letter M. This was the famous stone with the letter ‘E’ and other inscriptions on it. We were told by several scientists who first examined the tunnel with the stone slab, there were no inscriptions on it; they were added on at a later date. The tunnel that was to be the most exciting moment of my journey ended up being the worse experience of my entire stay. I felt very betrayed by previous writings, reports, and the photographs submitted to me to for review.
Francesco 6) The "discover", Mr. Osmanagic, has revealed the existence of large tiled surfaces all around the pyramidal structures. Is there any supporting evidence to his claims?
Dowell: I saw natural layers of stone cracked --resembling squares, rectangles, and irregular shapes at random levels throughout the hills. If you looked at one stone, and then the stone right next to it, you could see it was a continuation of the same stone layer, complete with the indentations and/or ripples, color shading, and veins. It was very obvious to me what Semir claims as man-made pavement and tiles are nothing more then natural stones found next to each other because they are members of the same natural stone bedding layer. There was no artificial cement or bonding agents used to join the so-called tiles or supposed man-made blocks; only natural erosion granulation, aggregate, and debris.
Francesco 7) Mr. Osmanagic's behavior has been highly criticized and disapproved by professional archaeologists. Do you thing the whole story might be purely a fake?
Dowell: I try to believe someone before I discredit them. I am open-minded, but I use discernment.
Since reading reports prior to our visit to Bosnia, and after what I saw and experienced during our stay, and then reading the insulting comments from Semir Osmanagic about Dr. Schoch and myself after our reports were made public and the continuing hate mail and messages written by the ‘Spiritual Believers of the Pyramids,’ I comprehend the entire pyramid scheme as a choreographed hoax to boost the economy of Bosnia and to fill the pockets and egos of the elite few at the cost of the many vulnerable who are in need of filling a void within themselves. The demographics of the ‘Pyramid Machine’ are defined by victims of war and maimed survivors, and the sympathetic and impoverished people of Bosnia along with ‘New Age’ and ‘Sci-Fi’ websites offering forums and message boards to spread propaganda.
Francesco 8) "Moon", "Sun", "Love" pyramid..."Earth Temple"...Is it only speculation? What else could this mystery hide? Why are these the names of the pyramids and how did Semir come to realize them?
Dowell: I feel the names were deliberately given to the ‘pyramids’ to evoke emotional responses from the Bosnians as well as the international followers of this “new cult.” They are names related to worship and strong emotions related to deep feelings of faith and unity. I believe this is all part of the choreographed scheme to manipulate the hearts and minds of the masses – the needy; a form of a subliminal control mechanism. No mystery at all --yet there is much mystery if you do not know what is really going on. It is important for people to know the truth and stop giving their faith and belief away to a hoax. They need to put their faith and energy into something substantial and of ethical value; something they can truly be proud of.
Francesco 9) Please, now we would be extremely interested in your opinion about the whole story.
Dowell: Well, I will put it like this: Semir Osmanagic brought his story,  The World of the Maya, public and claimed it as truth. But who is this man with ability to reach the international press so easily with his story and rattle the world with notions of our ancestors being from outer space and building pyramids in Bosnia, creating an illusionary world of non-physicality? He is a “Bosnian-American” who left Bosnia before its fall from the war in the mid 1990s. Semir’s father Muris Osmanagic, is a very famous and influential figure in Bosnia affiliated with international politics, economics, and mining (tunnels). Semir is well educated (he summarized his education for me as follows: degrees in Economics (4 years), Political Sciences (4 years), 2 years of Sociology, Master in International Economics, and a PhD thesis on "The Mayan Civilization"), and he settled in Houston Texas, USA, to establish  Met Company, “Houston's premier metal fabrication shop,” contracting metal fabrication for International Governments and he is a U.S. Department of Defense CCR [Central Contractor Registration] trading partner.
Semir has no degrees in the natural sciences, but has spent the last 15 years studying the pyramids of Latin America. He sees trade and commerce around tourism with these attractions; his mind clicks. His passion of pyramids and international economics turns towards his home country Bosnia. Semir is close to powerful and rich international politicians through his trade associations with the U.S. Department of Defense and existing relations with his father’s ties to the internal politics and economics of Bosnia.
 He is quoted by one of his friends, “I'm not doing this for my own glory. I just want to encourage local authorities to seriously deal with this site which could become Bosnia's most profitable product.” Yet, you see his face everywhere in Bosnia; he is renowned as ‘Bosnia’s Indiana Jones.’ He loves to stroll the main streets in neighboring towns in a slow manner so as to attract the local’s attention, talk to couples with their children and have his picture taken or sign his autograph -- just like the politician who kisses the baby in public and commends the gentleman for his choice of spouse and smiles at the little lady. Semir is smooth and plays his role well. ‘They‘ say the camera likes him.
What I see here with the alleged pyramids in Bosnia is an international marketing strategy to boost Bosnia’s economy. It is an economical and political scheme, not an archaeological excavation.
Francesco 10) Finally, could you anticipate any of your future projects? Will you continue your studies on the Egyptian Sphinx? Could you reveal anything about your future work to our curios readers? We are most grateful for your precious time and attention.
Dowell: I look forward to continuing my studies on ancient texts and some newly realized features on the Sphinx I noticed recently. I also would like to write about some preternatural events that can be traced back to the ‘Ancient Wisdom Teachings’ from many books I own and have studied since I was a mere child. I have many things I want to do! I look forward to learning and accomplishing my goals. Bosnia was a great learning experience on human nature.
I thank you for your questions concerning our journey, findings, and thoughts on the alleged pyramids in Bosnia and allowing me to express them freely.
Thank you. Colette M. Dowell
 Archaeology Magazine
 To read complete official open letter by Dr. Zahi Hawass to Archaeology Magazine: http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/osmanagic/zahi_hawass.pdf
 An English translation of the reply from the Egyptian Embassy to Osmanagic’s request is posted at:
 The World of the Maya
 Met Company
 “Bosnia's most profitable product.”
Here are some links to interesting articles that will follow in order for understanding what has gone on in Bosnia concerning the fake pyramids and
Semir Osmanagic, the Pyramid of the Sun Foundation and other entities.
FROM COLETTE DOWELL IN BOSNIA
"BOSNIAN PYRAMID" DOUBTS
BACK FROM BOSNIA
EXPLAINING REPORTS FROM BOSNIA
CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES OF SEMIR OSMANAGIC
TIDBITS AND CHAT
GEOLOGY REPORT ON ALLEGED BOSNIAN PYRAMIDS
EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS NEED EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE
COMMENTS & REPLY TO MR. DOUG WELLER
ARTICLE FROM THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF ARCHAEOLOGISTS - (EAA)
THE STONE BALLS IN ZAVIDOVIC, BOSNIA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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