When archaeologists study the past, they typically look for all sorts of clues about how people lived, worked, and entertained themselves in long-lost civilizations. Surprisingly, some of what they find is not all that different from how we live today!
However, any archaeologist can tell you that the real thrill of what they do lies in the unexpected discoveries they make. And nothing was more thrilling or unexpected than what experts in Bosnia were called to investigate recently…
When villagers discovered a giant stone sphere deep in a forest in Zavidovići, Bosnia, they knew they were out of their depths. They quickly contacted archaeologists to help them investigate the strange object and its origins.
The strange artifact was unlike anything anyone had seen before. The spherical object was approximately five feet in diameter and was largely made of iron. What it was used for and how long it had been there was anyone’s guess.
While the sphere’s origins remained a mystery to most people, one researcher by the name of Semir Osmanagić had a theory. Obviously, he couldn’t have been more excited to learn more about it…
According to Semir, the sphere wasn’t just an interesting artifact—he actually believed it could be the key to unlocking the secrets of an ancient civilization. If he was right, this discovery would be huge!
While other archeologists were skeptical, Semir wouldn’t budge. He argued that the sphere was actually a relic from more than 1,500 years ago—and it wasn’t the only one in existence, either.
He claimed that spheres like these were commonly found in 1970s, but they’ve become more rare because people usually destroyed them in hopes that they contained gold, as was commonly rumored.
This wasn’t the first time that Semir and his wild theories made headlines. Known as the Bosnian “Indiana Jones,” Semir developed quite the reputation for making outrageous claims.
For instance, he previously argued that there was a 12,000-year-old system of underground pyramids in Bosnia’s Visoko Valley. Over time, the claim was thoroughly debunked by experts.
While Semir believed that the object was created by human beings, other scientists who studied it weren’t quite so sure. In fact, they believed that this sphere may not have been manmade at all…
One expert, Dr. Mandy Edwards of Manchester University, believed that the sphere was formed by “precipitation of natural mineral cement within the spaces between sediment grains,” a process known as concretion.
Either way, there was one thing that everyone could agree on: a more thorough investigation was definitely required if they wanted to get to the bottom of the true nature of this strange sphere in the woods.
Despite everything, Semir still believed his sphere theory and in the pyramids beneath the Bosnian hills. In service of these ideas, he began searching for the pyramids; he soon claimed that his excavation efforts had turned up ancient bricks and mortar.
His search process was focused on several pyramid-shaped hills, which appeared to potentially house the evidence he sought. His case was convincing enough that some even began to believe him!
However, not long after, the European Association of Archaeologists issued a statement proclaiming the pyramids to be a hoax. The statement caused many of Semir’s backers to withdraw their support of the pyramid project—and of his sphere theory.
If the sphere really was the product of concretion, that didn’t make it any less mysterious than if it had been left behind by an ancient civilization. Sometimes nature can be just as mysterious…
Regardless, as geologists still don’t entirely understand the concretion process, the sphere remained an essential item for study. It might not be what Semir suggested, but that didn’t make it less important.
While the Bosnian sphere was certainly one of a kind, there are similar objects all around the world that have become popular tourist attractions. You don’t have to be the Bosnian Indiana Jones to appreciate their unique qualities!
Very often, concretions are harder than any of the other stones around them. This explains why, over the passing of time, they take on such specific shapes—usually the shape of sphere or ovoid.
That’s why people love to visit the Moeraki Boulders, which can be found all along the beaches of New Zealand. They’re such an unusual shape, and for many, visiting the boulders and touching them is thought to bring good luck.
These boulders are a prime example of “cannonball concretions,” just like the Bosnian sphere. Geologists believe that these are actually more than 60 million years old! Isn’t nature wild?
Was Semir’s sphere theory as controversial as that of the pyramids? Or was this sphere simply a phenomenon of nature? Only time—and more research—can tell!
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