"As told by Huaman Poma, five such ages had preceded that in which he lived. The first was an age of Viracochas, an age of gods, of holiness, of life without death, although at the same time it was devoid of inventions and refinements; the second was an age of skin-clad giants, the Huari Runa, or 'Indigenes,' worshippers of Viracocha; third came the age of Puron Runa, or 'Common Men,' living without culture; fourth, that of Auca Runa, 'Warriors,' and fifth that of the Inca rule, ended by the coming of the Spaniards." -- Hartley B. Alexander, historian, 1920
MSNBC: Scientists begin dig at Bosnian ‘pyramid’.
VISOKO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Archaeologists began digging Friday for what they hope is an ancient pyramid hidden beneath a mysterious Bosnian hill that has long been the subject of legend.Times Online: Indiana Jones of the Balkans and the mystery of a hidden pyramid.
The Bosnian archaeologist leading the work says the 2,120-foot (650-meter) mound rising above the small town of Visoko resembles pyramid sites in Latin America that he has studied. It would be the first pyramid ever discovered in Europe.
Initial research on the hill, known as Visocica, found that it has perfectly shaped, 45-degree slopes pointing toward the cardinal points and a flat top. Under layers of dirt, workers discovered a paved entrance plateau, entrances to tunnels and large stone blocks that might be part of a pyramid's outer surface.
Satellite photographs and thermal imaging revealed two other, smaller pyramid-shaped hills in the Visoko Valley.
DRIVE 20 miles northwest of Sarajevo through the mountains of central Bosnia and you enter the broad Visoko valley, dissected by the meandering Bosna River. Beyond the river sits the town of Visoko, watched over by its minarets. And beyond Visoko rises an extraordinary triangular hill, 700ft (213m) high and looking for all the world like an ancient pyramid.BBC: Dig for ancient pyramid in Bosnia
Some say that is precisely what it is — a huge pyramid built perhaps 12,000 years ago by an unknown civilisation. And yesterday they set out to prove it.
In the spring sunshine, watched by crowds of locals, journalists and the contestants in this year’s Miss Bosnia competition, a team of archaeologists began excavating the so-called Pyramid of the Sun, hoping for one of the greatest finds in modern history.
Experts ridicule the notion. “This is total nonsense. It’s impossible. There was no high culture in this region at that time capable of building something on this scale,” said Professor Enver Imamovic, a respected archeologist from Sarajevo.
But there is just enough evidence to suggest that the experts could be wrong — and to persuade Semir Osmanagic, 45, a wealthy Bosnian who moved to Houston 15 years ago, to raise £100,000 for the project.
The four sides of the Visocica hill have regular slopes of almost exactly 45 degrees, facing north, south, east and west exactly. “Nature simply cannot build such a perfect geometric shape,” Mr Osmanagic said.
Scattered in the hill’s scrubby vegetation are sandstone slabs that look as though they have been polished and cut. Running into the west side is a “causeway” 500 yards long and 40 wide.
And beneath the valley there appears to be a network of tunnels. Yesterday the diggers opened one which, according to local folklore, runs more than two miles to the “pyramid”. They penetrated far enough to find side tunnels. “This is definitely not a natural formation,” declared Nadjia Nukic, a geologist.
There is more, claims Mr Osmanagic, who sports an Indiana Jones-style cowboy hat. “Radar analysis showed there are tunnels inside and they are perfectly straight and the intersections are at 90 degrees.” Satellite thermal images indicate that the hill cools faster than its surroundings, suggesting that is less dense. There was a curious “resonance” from the hill when the town was shelled during the Bosnian war.
“We’re talking about a huge construction effort here. The size of this pyramid will shock the archaeological world. It’s substantially higher than the Great Pyramid of Egypt,” said Mr Osmanagic, who has spent 15 years researching the pyramids of Central and South America. “We have discovered tunnels linking the pyramid with other hilltops. We have also found a huge entrance plateau, paved with thousands of handmade sandstone plates. Once the world accepts that we have this huge pyramid we will start trying to answer the questions: who? when? how? and why?”
Known as Visocica, the 650m (2,120ft) triangular mound, overlooking Visoko, has long been shrouded in local legend.
The Bosnian archaeologist leading the project says it resembles pyramid sites he has studied in Latin America.
Initial excavations have revealed a narrow entrance to what could be an underground network of tunnels.
On Friday, a team of rescue workers from a local coal mine, followed by archaeologists and geologists examined the tunnel, thought to be 2.4 miles (3.8km) long.
The team found two intersections with other tunnels leading off to the left and right.
Their conclusion was that it had to be man-made.
"This is definitely not a natural formation," said geologist Nadja Nukic.
Satellite photographs and thermal imaging revealed two other, smaller pyramid-shaped hills in the Visoko Valley, which archaeologists believe the tunnels could lead to.