Sunday, July 29, 2007

That hill in Bosnia...

A few days ago, I noticed this item in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription needed, I believe) on unfortunate recent developments regarding research funding to investigate a hill claimed by a group of Bosnian enthusiasts to represent a monumental structure on par with some found in Egypt and Mesoamerica, but allegedly dating back to the last Ice Age. I've blogged about this project before and some of the reactions it prompted from actual archaeologists, and this alleged archaeological site has been argued by competent geologists and archaeologists to be nothing more than, wait for it, a perfectly normal hill! The AIA's magzine Archaeology has a page that explains why the case for 14 kya monumental archaeology on that hill is less than convincing (see also here). And recently, it had been announced that funding for this project had been revoked by the Bosnian government (see this post at Hot Cup of Joe).

However, in the Chronicle piece, C. Woodward reports that

"[The] controversial dig was halted earlier this year by Gavrilo Grahovac, minister of culture of Bosnia's Croat-Bosniak Federation, on account of its pseudoscientific nature and the "unreliable" credibility of its leaders. Mr. Grahovac withdrew the requisite permits to resume work and, according to reports in the Bosnian press, intended to withdraw public support for the project.

But last week Mr. Grahovac's decision was overruled by the federation's prime minister, Nedzad Brankovic, during an official visit to the site in Visoko, northwest of Sarajevo. "Why should we disown something that the entire world is interested in?" he told reporters. "Why don't we recognize something that is visible to the naked eye?""

Why? Because people with some legitimate competence in archaeology agree that this is not a man-made structure!! If it was truly "visible to the naked eye", wouldn't there be some support from legitimate, well-established archaeologists and geologists? And something (positive) might have been published in credible archaeology journals? You can bet your sweet rear-end that if there was any professional association backing up these claims, the "research team" would be heralding them as champions of truth and people willing to look past established paradigms. And yet, no one has boldly come out to accept these prestigious titles. What other recent "controversy" do you think this situation makes me think of? Hmmmmm....

In any case, shame on you, Mr. Brankovic, for promoting pseudo-science and for disregarding the decisions of the relevant authorities of your own country. And kudos to Mr. Grahovac for trying to do the right thing in this kind of a political climate.

PS: Any unwarranted reference to the "p-word" was dutifully avoided in the crafting of this post.

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