Monday, May 01, 2006

Bosnian Pyramid: Google Earth Used to Disseminate Data

Photo Credit:

What are the chances of the world’s tallest man-made pyramid being found in Visoko, Bosnia-Herzegovina? Well, according to the data and available studies on the BosnainPyramid site, at least somebody believes it. Although, the intention of this post is not to support or debunk the authenticity of this find, but instead, just to point out an example of a project (albeit off-beat) using Google Earth maps and links, as well as, a blog’ish publication scheme to produce data that can be accessed by many and, in this case, be swept up into a media whirlwind.

(This article from Archaeology Magazine will give the stance that many professionals take on this issue)

A little background on this site tells quite an interesting story. The 2,120 ft peak of Visocica, towering over the small town, has been noted for its four sided geometric shape long before the recent excavations. Stories going back the 14th century describe a hidden subsurface structure that once housed the Bosnian king, Tvrtko of Kotromanic. Much more recent reports include the uncovering of engraved building blocks and other faced stones in the constructions of roads and a foundation.

In comes Semir "Sam" Osmanagic, a Texas businessman with an appetite for the weird and wonderful aspects of “archaeology”. Semir, of Bosnian descent, has believed for 15 years that Visocica is the location of the world’s largest man-made pyramid. Now, with a government supported 5 year excavation and a swell of nationalistic pride in his court, Mr. Osmanagic seeks to prove to the world that he has found what he promised. Brushing aside the pleas and claims to halt excavation, by well established archaeological professionals, Mr. Osmanagic presses on.

The website dedicated to the Bosnian Pyramid Archaeological Park, with a clean 3-column design, provides updated content, stories, relevant research aspects (geology, remote sensing, etc…), and a section of maps and KLM downloads ( Sun Pyramid). Fitting well with the Indiana Jones feel to this project, the Google Earth links quickly transport the viewer to the location of the alleged pyramid. Also, there are links to other “pyramids” and a rubbersheeted topo map that gives a decent indication of the topography. How long before someone places a Google SketchUp model on the spot?

Although the technology is nothing fancy and the presentation is simple, the 595 views of the pyramids GE placemark on the keyhole site is probably more looks, virtual or actual, than most archaeology sites will ever see. Certainly, it is the highly controversial and compelling story that created the media frenzy around this “find”, but the availability of data in the form of flying into and around GE placemarks and raster overlays helps get the point across.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like
have done SketchUp model.
By the way you describe very well that site, thay are doing great job.