Article published on 10 February 2008

by Irna

In lack of "scientific reports", quite rare these last months (and that’s not surprising, see here), and in lack of new "discoveries", the Foundation website doesn’t offer these days, beside some promotional material about Mr. Osmanagic’s presentations, more than a few revivals of old photographs: "extracts from the photo documentation" or "details from the Bosnian valley of the pyramids". On this last page, however, appears a photograph that, as far as I know, has never before been published on the Foundation website:

What is it? The Foundation doesn’t give any hint about this object, so that we don’t know where it was found, nor how the Foundation interprets it. However, the fact that it appears on the website may permit to suppose that someone considers it has an archaeological value...

This same object had in fact already been shown, in December 2007, on the forum (en), with a photograph at a slightly different angle, and an important information: far from a finding during the excavations, it was a child who discovered it near the Fojnica river in Visoko.

As usual (see for instance here), the forum regular members have immediately offered extravagant interpretations: a "mask", an "adornement put on a stone figurine for certain ceremonies", an "amulet stone", carved in "granite" with "polished clay"... According to "arkadije (en)", it is a proof that "old people in this region have vision maby about same cosmical calendar (maby based on star Orion)" [sic], and he gives, along with this idea, a link to a totally unrelated exhibition that presents popular traditional Serbian masks from the XIXth and XXth century, unrelated with a "cosmic calendar" or Orion (the presentation of this exhibition mentions indeed a calendar, but it is the annual calendar, ponctuated by the traditional feasts, religious or relating to the natural cycle of seasons). The same "arkadije" mentions again, farther in the topic, his interpretation of the mask as religious and calendarial symbol representing "Orion star" [sic again], and gives, this time, a link pointing to the Lepenski Vir culture (en). If some people do not see the difference between that:

and the "mask" found in Visoko, I’m no longer surprised that they cannot distinguish more between a hill and a pyramid!

As we are discussing interpretations of this object, I could maybe suggest another one, indeed not as romantic and fascinating as a ritual mask or a Neolithic amulet, but at least as well founded. Of course I never saw the said object with my own eyes, and am no archaeologist, but, as everyone has, I have sometimes found on a shore pebbles with strange shapes and colors, pebbles which under review appeared to be in fact fragments of bricks, of glass, of tiles, of crockery, eroded and rounded by the water.

Given that we have here a composite object with two different materials, and that it was found near a river, my first guess - until further confirmation - would be that it is simply a fragment of perforated brick covered with cement mortar, fallen in the Fojnica river and rounded by its waters during a few tens of years.

I even could give a guess about the kind of brick it could come from, seeing the shape of the perforations:

If I am wrong, I have no doubt that the "mask" will be studied by archaeologists and published in the incoming months; if it is not, it will be one more piece for the bric-a-brac of pseudo-artifacts of every kind, three-headed dragon, sacred cow and other ancient soles, that presently compose all the concrete results of two years of excavations. And one will have to wonder again about the credibility of an "archaeological" Foundation that, without openly claiming that this object is an ancient artifact, however puts its photograph on their news page...

Update of the 5th July

I wrote above that the Foundation dared not openly claim that the pseudo-mask was an actual artifact ; it’s not true anymore, judging by the photograph published today on the website (bs), showing a presentation of the project by Mr. Osmanagic in Italy:

where the said object is not only presented to the public, but also clearly labelled an "artifact from the Dragon Pyramid"...

Not really surprising, as the Foundation has specialized in claiming any bit of stone is an artifact, see here, here and the last instance.

Update of February 2011

Found in a comment on the guestbook (comment of the 8th June 2010): "the amulet will make all sceptics trembling in anxiety". As far as I’m concerned, this "amulet" made me howl... with laughter!

Update of 2012

The "amulet" now figures prominently on the promotional material on the Foundation website: in the header of some parts of the site, on a promotional flyer; and it has been the subject of a "scientific study" by our old acquaintance Nenad Djurdjevic, aka Hyperborean, aka DrBone, aka... (you know, the one who can’t recognize an April Fool, and tries to sell it as a genuine archaeological discovery three years later...). Fortunately, as we say in France, "le ridicule ne tue pas"!