An Egyptian geologist who arrived to check on claims by an amateur researcher that a hill in central Bosnia is hiding an ancient pyramid said Wednesday the structure is man-made and worth investigating.
"My opinion is that this is a type of pyramid, probably a primitive pyramid," said Dr. Aly Abd Alla Barakata, a geologist from the Egyptian Mineral Resource Authority.
Barakata is the first expert from Egypt to visit the Visocica hill and offer an opinion on whether huge stone slabs excavated on the site could form the sloping sides of a massive step pyramid.
Semir Osmanagic, an amateur Bosnian archaeologist who has been investigating Latin American pyramids for 15 years, claimed last year that the Visocica hill, about 20 miles northwest of Sarajevo, is a pyramid.
If correct, it would be the first ancient pyramid ever found in Europe.
Osmanagic's team, made up mainly of volunteers, began excavations last month on the 2,100-foot hill.
The team found that Visocica has 45-degree slopes pointing toward the cardinal points and a flat top. Under layers of dirt, workers said they discovered a paved entrance plateau, entrances to tunnels and large stone blocks.
Osmanagic's theory has been disputed by a number of experts who claim that at no time in Bosnia's history has there been a civilization able to build monumental structures and that the hill is simply a weird natural formation.
A petition signed by 22 Bosnian experts pointed out that Osmanagic is an amateur and claimed that the stone blocks he unearthed are part of a medieval graveyard.
Dr. Barakata, an expert in the stone blocks used to build ancient pyramids, said he believes the structure could not be natural and should be investigated further.
"We need to study it more, to find out the age, the type of material used," he said.
He said he will recommend to his government to send more experts and that an archaeologist from Egypt is scheduled to visit the site next month.