Yesterday I discussed the strange case of Miquel Pérez-Sánchez, a Spanish writer who earned a Ph.D. in goofball pyramid mysticism by studying Egyptology in the architecture department of his university rather than as history or archaeology. This reminded me of Sam Osmanagich, the man who believes that some natural hills in Bosnia are actually 30,000-year-old pyramids. He, too, holds a Ph.D., and his came from the University of Sarajevo, where he studied the history of civilizations. Under the guidance of sociologist Prof. Dr. Hidajet Repovac (to use the European titling system), Osmanagich successfully earned a Ph.D. by writing a dissertation claiming that “quartz head skull technology” (i.e. the crystal skulls that actually date to the modern era) “proves” that the Maya predate all known American civilizations, including the Olmec. “There is no scientific precedence that could serve as an example of this pioneering research and analyses,” he wrote. He also denied that Postclassic Maya were in fact Mayans, and he denies any connection between modern Mayans and their ancient ancestors.
Osmanagich got away with this because he studied under a professor in the Faculty of Political Science and framed his work as a sociological comparison of Mayan and Western civilizations; in other words, he sneaked fringe claims through the University of Sarajevo by circumventing the disciplines of archaeology and history, where such studies might more naturally be housed. The University of Sarajevo places sociology, Osmanagich’s alleged discipline, under political science; it has a separate Institute of History and houses the archaeology department under the Faculty of Philosophy.
I’d like to know who read a dissertation about “quartz head skull technology” that essentially proposed that the Maya were a mysterious lost civilization that vanished without a trace and then thought, “Gee, this is amazing research!” What must the oral defense have sounded like?
But he came out the other side with a legitimate degree based on a dissertation covering crystal skulls and denial of Mayan history. As such, Osmanagich is happy to present himself as a credentialed archaeologist and academic in order to give weight to his allegations about the Bosnian land formations he calls pyramids. His recent appearance at a conference in Singapore prompted coverage in the Straits Times, one of the city-state’s largest newspapers, in which Osmanagich repeated the same claims he’s made for many years now and promising that he will never give up digging into the Bosnian hillsides until he learns who really built them.
Speaking of the search for the “real builders,” Andrew Collins has some new speculation that he published today on Ancient Origins, a website that remains so overloaded with advertising and other doodads that even with the most up-to-date browsers in Windows 10, I still can’t stay on any of its pages longer than a few minutes without it crashing my browser. Collins claims that earlier this month a British expatriate named Matthew Smith noticed that an ancient artifact from Göbekli Tepe on display at a museum in Şanlıurfa, near the site, seems to show two of the distinctive T-shaped pillars from the site. The accompanying photograph does indeed seem to show these pillars inscribed on a piece of bone that dates back to the time of the site’s construction, although other interpretations may be possible. I have a hard time seeing what Collins says is a human figure standing with its back to us on the plaque.
You can see the plaque in Collins’s YouTube video:
At no time does Collins appear to ask museum officials what archaeologists believe the plaque represents, nor does he consult academic literature for its description. Presumably, someone has said something about it before last week.
Collins says that he believes, based on a suggestion by History Channel jack of all conspiracies Hugh Newman (sometime Ancient Aliens speculator, sometime gigantologist), that an indentation in the center of the artifact represents an aperture similar to the round stone holes found at the site. Collins interprets the plaque as a stick figure man looking through the stone hole between two stone pillars. It’s not clear to me why that dot would be a stone hole and not, for example, a star, especially given Collins’s claims.
As most readers know, Collins has an elaborate world-historical conspiracy that he believes lies behind the Neolithic period. This involves the Enochian Watchers, who for him are a spiritually advanced race of ancient white people from the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. Collins therefore interprets the stone holes as observation points meant to target the Watchers’ favorite constellation, Cygnus the swan. The hole therefore symbolizes the dark rift in the Milky Way, which appears like a hole in the river of stars. So, if the hole symbolizes the dark rift or targets it in the sky, why would the bone plaque show the hole and not the actual dark rift?
Here is the only place where Collins’s claims become interesting—and not because of anything he actually said. Collins argues that the enclosures at Göbekli Tepe were aligned to the north and thus to Cygnus in order to reclaim his priority as an interpreter of the site, since Graham Hancock took him to task over the issue in Magicians of the Gods, released only days ago. What makes this interesting is that the book Hancock was reacting to (and from which he appears to have lifted much of his own material on the site), Collins’s Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods, had an introduction from no less a luminary than… Graham Hancock, who called it a “masterwork” before attacking its conclusions in print!
In Magicians, Hancock nonsensically claimed that Göbekli Tepe could not have been aligned to the north because a hill would have blocked the view of Cygnus. Collins attempts to rebut Hancock by pointing out that the alleged hill is an artificial construction and would not have been present at the time the site was laid out. It’s interesting that Collins isn’t willing to criticize Hancock too strongly, and goes out of his way to say that only more research can determine which of them is right. Could this be because the two men are going to be appearing together November 7 at the Origins 2015 Conference, where he is playing second-fiddle to headliner Hancock (though billed above gigantologist Jim Viera and the omnipresent Newman).
What I have trouble figuring out, though, is how Collins and Hancock can appear at conferences together and Hancock can write the introduction for Collins’s book, and yet the two of them don’t seem to be able to play as nicely as the rest of the Ancient Aliens crowd (both have appeared on that show) to either ignore their differences or work them out behind the scenes to avoid publicly contradicting one another and thus breaking fringe-history solidarity. You’d have thought Hancock and Collins might have talked this out before Hancock criticized him in print.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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