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A Study by Nenad M. Djurdjević
ABSTRACT: So far orthodox scholarship of the stećak monolithic stones has attempted to situate the architectural, artistic and religious phenomenon of these monuments in only three different contexts: Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism (Bosnian Church), the heretic Bogomil doctrine, and remnants of pagan beliefs of unknown origin. According to academic scholarship, the historical origin of stećaks has been proposed exclusively as mediaeval. The intent of this paper is to demonstrate that the architectural, artistic and religious expressions of the stećaks are deeply rooted in a millennia-old tradition belonging to the Old European culture. This will lead us to the identification of the “True Spirit” of these sacred stone monuments, allowing us to rejoin them with their ancestral origin.
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Stećaks, or stećci, is merely a convenient term to denote monolithic stones found in present days throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and in parts of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. The name stećak comes from the present participle of the verb stajati, to stand - stojeći, and is most commonly used in reference works deriving from the assumption that they were exclusively designed during the mediaeval period to stand over graves as religious monuments (tombstones). However, in the absence of a sufficient number of reliable written sources, as well as contradictory archaeological and scientific evidence, the origin and purpose of stećaks remains subjected to questioning.
Stećaks fall into two main groups, recumbent and upright or standing stone monoliths. They can be found in the form of an ordinary flat or roughly shaped slab 10, chest/coffin13, gabled sarcophaguslike monolith in the shape of an elongated pentagon16, pillar (obelisk4,5 or nišan), stele1 (Wenzel M. – Ukrasni motivi na stećcima - Table XLV). Stećaks are mostly made of limestone, sandstone, granite and, in particular circumstances, of different types on conglomerate.
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Over sixty thousand of the seventy thousand recorded stećaks are found at more than three thousand known sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the remaining number is proportionally divided between Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. These numbers are an estimate, because different sources suggest that during the past decades and centuries a significant number of stećaks was destroyed. However, new locations with stećaks are discovered yearly, and the aforementioned numbers will likely rise in the future.
▲ Stećaks are mostly found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Although the most proposed theory ascribes the authorship of stećaks to the Bogomil social-religious movement, these monuments are not found where this doctrine originated and was mainly preached, namely, Bulgaria and Macedonia.
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One of the reasons for the disappearance of a large number of stećaks can be attributed to the low quality of the raw materials used for their construction. Another reason, much worse than any other, is the widespread inability to comprehend the cultural and spiritual background of these monuments. It is presumed that during the past centuries and the last decades over twenty percent of stećaks were used as stone blocks in civil constructions such as roads, bridges, residential or religious buildings and other structures. Even today many of these ancient monuments are threatened by men and ruined by time and, although recently stećaks have been added to UNESCO list of rare cultural heritage which requires urgent protection, the funds for their preservation are scarce and limited. So far orthodox scholarship of the stećak monolithic stones has attempted to situate the architectural, artistic and religious phenomenon of these monuments in only three different contexts: Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism (Bosnian Church), the heretic Bogomil doctrine, and remnants of pagan beliefs of unknown origin. According to academic scholarship, the historical origin of stećaks has been proposed exclusively as mediaeval. The iconography of stećaks has been described as Christian, Romanic, Gothic, Bosnian, and sometimes primitive. In absence of other historical sources some scholars ascribed the authorship of stećaks to the Bogomil faith. The most important step in the overall dispute related to the primary source of stećaks, as well as the particular context where the architectural layout of these monuments may have been generated, is still missing. The stećak phenomenon has been proposed to the public as an exclusive prerogative of the mediaeval period and of different Churches, excluding the possibility that the tradition and ancestral origin of these sacred monuments may well be far older, and radically different from the established paradigm. Of the seventy thousand recorded stećaks only five thousand bear carved decorations in the form of bas-reliefs or incised lines. Of these five thousand, only four hundred thirty-eight to date have been recorded to feature upon them crosses forms as the major element (Wenzel M. – Ukrasni motivi na stećcima - p. 91). However, the vast majority of motifs and ornaments present on stećaks are referable to Old European religious beliefs, and a solar symbolism closely connected to cosmological concepts deriving from pagan sources like the Vedas. In this regard, it is curiously interesting to examine how the architectural, artistic and religious expressions of stećaks were already present in prehistoric societies of Old Europe. This paper will present a number of milleniaold artifacts belonging generally to the Neolithic-Chalcolithic period of Old Europe that will establish a direct link to these sacred monuments. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID.ORG © 2012 IV
decoration and furnishing that are otherwise unavailable to the prehistoric archaeologist and scholar. kuća (house). BOSNIAN-PYRAMID.E. These artifacts are particularly important. “shrine”. Bitola Velušina- In Neolithic mound of Porodin near Bitola. as well at Vādastra. 6th millennium B. to about 5. vječna kuća . Middle Neolithic.Sanctuaries and Votive Stećaks of Old Europe (7. kâm (stone).200 B. sanctuaries.C. because they present details of architecture. Similar models of houses and sanctuaries found at the Early Vinča site of Turdaş in Transylvania. the Starčevo culture can be dated from 6. ► Votive temple. exactly as in the case of subconsciously absorbed terminology to denote Bosnian stećaks: bilig. several miniature models of sanctuaries of a unique type were excavated: each has a cylindrical 'chimney' upon it which is modelled with the masked features of a beaked and large-eyed goddess with a necklace encricling her neck and spreading over the roof. Macedonia. temples and tablets produced throughout the Neolithic-Chalcolithic period.C.vječni dom (eternal house/abode) etc. and probably represent temples dedicated to a particular goddess. Macedonia. zlamen. the body of these votive objects reflects the typical form of sarcophaguslike stećaks in the shape of elongated pentagons. Several examples of clay models were discovered in such a context beloning to the Star čevo culture. terracotta. grčki grobovi (Greek tombs).) One of the most exciting discoveries made in the prehistoric society contexts of Old Europe are hundreds of miniature clay models of houses.000-3.E. must signify the same concept.C. Romania. (Schubert 1999). distributed in south-west Hungary.E. The models have elaborate doors. “temple”. Serbia. Porodin Culture. Another “curiosity” consists in the fact that the terms used in the archaeological literature to refer to these artefacts is often interchanged “house”. Kosovo.C.500 B. either as an inverted T shape or with angular cut-outs.500 B. Archaeological evidence suggests that these objects were used in sacrifical ceremonies as votive objects to celebrate the erection of a structure. “sanctuary”. (Pelagonia).ORG © 2012 V . In terms of absolute chronology. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. discovered at the site of Mala Trnska Tumba.E. mramorje (marbles). Interestingly. shrines.
however.C. and neighbouring countries. and so they would be buried beneath it as an act of connecting their bodies to the home. as well as of the living. ▲ Model of a house. Romania. The use of large basements made of stone is a common feature found in many stećak monoliths. women. The red-baked.8083' X 22. polished clay model seen on page VII is 24. Gumelniţa culture. (Ziduldacic 2012) Stećaks in the shape of a house can be found almost everywhere in Bosnia.2 cm high and 51 cm long (9.9658'). Bosnia. in which the sacred bond between women and their children was preserved even after death. their “eternal abode”. belonging to the Gumelniţa culture. Lithuanian archaeologist Marija Gimbutas theorizes that women and children were associated with hearth and home. Archaeological evidence has shown that during the Early Neolithic. seems to express more than any other the millennia old concept of religious beliefs closely related with funerary practices of Old European culture. 5th millennium B. One of the most important archaeological discoveries that has caused the interpretative confines of the prehistorian's understanding of Neolithic-Chalcolithic structures and cult practices to be readjusted was that of a sanctuary model at Cāscioarele.1 in) and was found lying close to the remains of a large sanctuary 10 X 7 metres (32.The term “eternal abode”. Romania. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. Sometimes they are decorated with motifs and inscriptions. but more often they are found undecorated. children. House-shaped stećaks are found in the form of a single great stone (monolith). particularly in the Balkans.5 X 20. Further evidence will clearly demonstrate that such architectural practice is not the prerogative of the mediaeval period.E. as well reposed upon a stereobate (or crepidine). but is deeply rooted within millennia-old Old European culture and tradition.ORG © 2012 VI . ▲ Stećak in the shape of a house. and youths were buried under house floors and between buildings. Habitation areas functioned as realms of the ancestors.
Cāscioarele.E. the temple of Susa. The horizontal lines visible on the substructure might depict flights of stairs or a terrace like structure made of wooden beams. which supports four individual temples.C. remains unexplained to archaeologists. suggesting a door frame. depicted on a cylinder seal impression dating back to 3. we obtain a temple complex ten or more metres high. On top there's a rectangular temple with three bull horns on each side. perhaps indicating the wooden supports of an arcade leading to the temple. For example. The entrance to each temple has a narrow border in relief.▲ Clay model of a sanctuary. appears as a structure composed of a large substructure with entrances and apertures. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. Gumelniţa culture.C. which could represent windows or entrances.. Together with the substructure corresponding to that of the model. For the moment. The model temples presumably illustrate real structures at least three metres in height. from which two ribs project obliquely upwards between the lintel and the roof.ORG © 2012 VII . the presence of holes. Similar models of temples supported on terraced substructures are known from Sumerian architecture.300 B.E. like the stereobate of a classical Greek temple. There is no further architectural detail within the temples. The large clay sanctuary consists of a large substructure. Carbon dating shows that the sanctuary in Cāscioarele ante-dates Sumerian temples by one millennium. each of which has a wide-arched portal and is crowned with horns on the gable and above the four corners. 5th millennium B.
Cucuteni-Tripolye culture. 5th millennium B. Bosnia. usually smaller. ◄ Clay model of a sanctuary. as well in the site of Krannon-Duraki. have been known for long time. In the site of Ruse. is just one example in a series of many. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. is by analogy very similar to other sanctuary models presented in this paper. Romania. (Ursulescu N. Copper Age approx. p. usually interpreted as a building resting on piles.The model of a sanctuary found in Cāscioarele is not unique.500 B.E. ▲ Clay model of a temple on a stereobate. Miniature clay models of sanctuaries found in Moldavia and Ukraine belonging to Cucuteni-Tripolye culture are known since the beginning of the twentieth century. together with several miniature clay models of temples with wide-arched portals standing on terraced stereobates. ▲ Stećak on a stereobate. 4. however. Thessaly. Within the area of distribution of the East Balkan civilization many fragments of similar models.C. a 'two-storey house' very similar to that of Cāscioarele was discovered. Bulgaria.E. that will further consolidate this already self-evident relationship. The close relationship in the architectural layout between Old European votive temples and the most common recumbent form of stećaks becomes evident at first sight. This. It may be assumed that the presence of these supports is meant to stress the importance of the sanctuary's elevation above the ground. 2006.ORG © 2012 VIII . Izvoaerele. Architectural remains of these clay models were also found in Izvoarele. 132) The small clay model. Romania. East Balkan civilization. Greece.C.
ORG © 2012 IX . and are seldom mentioned in history books. to serve as a useful source of information for scholars and researchers. However. sanctuaries and temples constitute an important evidence in the understanding of how sacred structures as well as monolithic masonry evolved over the centuries and millennia. Unfortunately.C. and a temple on a stereobate (right). ▼ Clay model of a house (left). one of the aims of this paper is to shake-off such limited mindset and.▲ Stećaks on a stereobate with frontal and lateral cut-outs. Romania 5th millennium B. Gumelniţa culture. They set a basic model needed in the reconstruction of the architectural. Bosnia & Herzegovina. Bistrica. these unique and oldest worldwide architectural remains are too often ignored by historians and archaeologist. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. but also of the history of architecture in general. (cIMeC 1996-2012) Old European miniature models of houses. possibly.E. artistic and religious design of stećaks. show similar structure of Old European votive temple models.
Unlike other. Romania. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Miši village. shows an identical form of Old European sanctuary model in its most basic form.ORG © 2012 X . 5th millennium B. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. ▲ example of a sanctuary model made of clay in its most basic form. these are rarely decorated. from most basic and abstract form. more sophisticated types of stećaks. Rešetarica locality. Old European miniature models of houses. temples or shrines are not the only ancestral source of stećaks. (cIMeC 1996-2012) ▼ (left) one of the basic form of stećaks. They can be found as a single stone or placed upon a stereobate.As in any other example of architectural development through time. the evolution of sacred structures and their miniature reproductions goes through several stages. with frontal cut-out. Eneolithic clay tablets and altars which will be examined later will add additional reference to the scheme used to represent the geometry of stećaks. sanctuaries. Here below are presented few examples.E.C. Livno. However. There are many examples of stećaks with such basic geometrical shape in Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighbouring countries. to more sophisticated and rationalized ones. Oval-shaped votive tablets and altars often appear in the archaeological record together with others of quadrangular or pentagonal form. Gumelniţa culture.
Sometimes borders are used as a space division.E. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID.ORG © 2012 XI . Gumelniţa culture. Romania 5th millennium B. Rope-like decoration on the borders is a common feature in both stećaks and Old European sanctuary models.▲ Clay model of a sanctuary in the shape of elongated pentagon with decorated borders. or as an outline embellishment to some particular grouping of motifs or to a figural scene. Stećaks decorated with rope-like borders are very frequent in Herzegovina. (cIMeC 1996-2012) ▼ Example of a stećak. Varying border designs appear either as a finishing to an othrwise undecorated stećak. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatia and Montenegro. shows a very similar structure as the example of Old European votive sanctuary above.C.
Sometimes.rosette . Knobs are usually placed along the gable and may appear either singly.sun . or in pairs or in threes. Croatia and Serbia.knob . apple).▲ Clay model of a sanctuary in the shape of a pentagon with holes and a gable/knob. because often present on stone crosses of that period. In the Serbian or Croatian language the knob is called “jabuka”. knobs are used to decorate central parts of the vertical sides as an elaboration of the central field. knobs are attributed to an Ottoman legacy. (cIMeC 1996-2012) ▼ Example of a stećak in the shape of a pentagon decorated with a knob (serbo-croatian jabuka. they are considered as the prerogative of different Churches during the Middle Ages. They can be also found on the top of pointed stelae. meaning apple. Even today there's the custom to place apples on the tops and arms of crosses.C. do not derive from mediaeval art or traditions. Romania 5th millennium B. Alternatively.flower of life]. Gumelniţa culture. They represent the normal consequence in the transitional development of architectural elements such as the extremities of wooden beams into figurative art forms [gable cross (proto-swastika) . Nevertheless. but have their origin in a seven thousand year old civilization of Old Europe. In some cases.ORG © 2012 XII . evidence indicates that the knob as well many other symbols found on stećaks throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. because similar protrusions are found on tombs of Muslim leaders. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. and in particular over the graves of young girls and boys.bull's horns crescent . E. Knobs are another common artistic feature found on stećaks.
ORG © 2012 XIII . Calarasi.The Evolution of the Architectural Elements a 2012) d b c Figures a-b-c-d-e: Neolithic architectural remains.500 B. Gumelniţa culture. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. The result is a reflection of the basic form of recumbent stećaks in the shape of elongated pentagons. 3. as well as the transformation of a roof without gable cross and knob into the basic pentagonal form of sancturies (d+e).C.E. (Ziduldacic e Above: the given examples show the phenomena of prehistoric architectural evolution of the gable cross into the knob (a+b+c).
The spiral. and confirm their connection to death and regeneration (Gimbutas M. 35). Dilov 2012) ▼ Mirror imagery closely related to proto-swastika symbolism such as double-spirals. . Another symbol for Venus is the Bull. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID.p.Stećci.162). and those found on ancient Greek gold jewellery known as grecos. are frequent motifs on stećak stones (Bešlagić Š.▲ Clay model of a sanctuary decorated with proto-swastika symbolism. the bull's horns consistenly appear associated with sanctuaries and tombs. Bosnian spirals resemble very much those found on Greek grave stelae. 5th millennium B. Gumelniţa culture. (D. 161. while the pentagonal geometry of Old European sanctuaries and stećaks can be associated with Aphrodite (Venus). In Old Europe.p. Cāscioarele.ORG © 2012 XIV . Kultura i Umjetnost . Spirals and double-spirals are another figurative interpretation of swastikas. Spirals are employed as a major element of decoration on the stećaks.C. – The Living Goddess . different types of crosses etc. however. is another sacred symbol found in Bosnia from prehistory onwards. which is one of many fertility symbols playing a major role in cultic worship.E.
and the mythical water snake was considered a vehicle of an energy that had its source in water. along with Seth in his original form.C.ORG © 2012 XV . BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. KGK VI.E ◄ Bosnian pita: snake or spiral? 2012 In Old Europe the earliest primeval element of the universe was conceived as water. 4. ▲ Clay model of a snake. In Bosnia and other regions of the Balkan peninsula that once were part of the Old European continent the coiled serpent survived by camouflaging itself in culinary tradition. the primordial cosmic energy. The presence of the Snake Goddess is felt everywhere – on earth and in the sky.E ▲ The Egyptian Mehen. Mehen wraps his coils around Apep.C. At the dawn of the Egyptian culture. Interestingly. the word pita seems to come from the Sanskrit word pitā – father. In the Vedas the coiled serpent is associated with the Kundalini force. fights Apep daily as the sun travels across the sky. Mehen even lent his name and his shape to a gameboard. while Seth strikes at Apep with a spear. sleeping like a coiled serpent. 275 B. in the form of a coiled serpent. In the Old Kingdom of Egypt and in predynastic literature.100 B.The evolution and survival of the spiral symbol can be observed in the given examples. Mehen.
as well central part of the sanctuary is dominated by the image of the bull (bucranium). and therefore appears consinstently associated with tombs and the goddess' womb. Artifacts associated with the cult of the bull were found at the Neolithic sites of Vu čedol (Croatia). in Old Europe the bull's head and horns as well as rams were strongly associated with sanctuaries. The entrance. The same symbolism can be found in Anatolia.C. In the symbolic language of Old Europe the horns are represented in the abstract with a crescent moon as well. Vinča (Serbia). because of its analogy with the flowerlike ends of the fallopian tubes. as a U-sign indicating the bucranium.E. p. as well within megalithic tombs in the form of horns or hooks sculpted in relief. and Butmir (Bosnia) etc. Old European cultures situated this image particularly above sanctuary entrances. and the near East. 5th millennium B. ▲ Reconstruciton of a sanctuary with a gable roof in its simplest form at Vinča site Kormadin. Serbia. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. – 2006. temples and shrines. 86) The rosette is another symbol identified with bull's horns. Minoan islands.ORG © 2012 XVI .As previously mentioned. The bull and the ram where also initmately associated in ancient Egypt with the worship of sun deities. (Ursulescu N. with death and regeneration. It should therefore come as no surprise that the same religious imagery is often encountered on the stećak monolithic monuments.
and various forms of horn symbolism appear very frequently in almost all geographic areas involved in the stećak phenomenon.C. the crescent has been generally associated with Islam. Actual skull plates with attached horns are embedded into a pointed arch. Anatolia. and richer understanding of the significance and importance of Old European culture and the stećak phenomenon. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. However.ORG © 2012 XVII . Croatia. this possibility can be taken into consideration only on Islamic-type stelae found on the Bosnian territory. The frontal side of the monolithic monument is decorated with a deity bearing large rams' horns.. 1967) ◄ Example of a stećak with a pointed top in Brotnice. Konavle region. The given evidence clearly demonstrates that there's a millenniaold inseparable relationship between Old European sanctuaries. But also in that case. better. 7th millennium B.► Drawing from basrelief of a shrine in Çatal Hüyük. additional evidence will be presented in order to provide a deeper. it should be taken into consideration that the symbol of the star and crescent are a common feature of Sumerian iconography. rosette. rosette. (Mellart J. The crescent. In some cases.E. and a crescent. stećaks and other similar monuments based on common architectural. the consort of the sun god Ba'al. ► Altar (Tophet) representing symbols of the Carthaginian and Phoenician moon goddess Tanit. artistic and religious concepts. In this context.
due to their resemblance of the pediment building facade. these artifacts might shed some light on the better understanding of unique characteristics present in stećaks. Ocharovo tell. votive pyramids).e. 2012) ▼ Eneolithic ceramic altars.c).E. 2006. since votive offerings in the shape of coffins were also found in other ancient cultures (i. double-spirals. temples and even pyramids was a common practice in prehistoric societies of Old Europe. Bulgaria.C. Up to now there is no typology published regarding such objects except for several preliminary studies. a b c ▲ Two examples of Eneolithic polygonal votive objects classified by archaeologists as "clay tablet" (a) and "object with signs" (b. However. p. The group of objects comprises an important number of ceramic tablets of polygonal and pentagonal shape interpreted often as "altars". caterpillars and antropomorphic figures. Such objects are mostly made of ceramics and end up in museums in unlclassified piles. Serbian коловрат). purpose and significance. (Chernakov D. chevrons.Whenever a research on various prehistoric sites has been carried out. caterpillars (Croatian kolovrat. one small group of objects is comparatively unexplored and extremely important for our study on the origin of stećaks. Among the findings generally different in terms of form.ORG © 2012 XVIII . This possibility should not be excluded a priori. Not rarely some of them are exhibited to the public without proper scientific classification (i. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID.800 B. (Mirea P. sanctuaries.e. 4. 75) It is well known that the creation of miniature models of different individual structures such as houses. Egypt). It could therefore be assumed that the production of such models also included the most widespread of recumbent stećaks often decorated with chevron patterns. findings of alleged non ‐ utility comprise a considerably large share of the overall objects discovered. Gradeshnitsa-Slatino-Dikilitash. Decorations include single/double spirals.
Lizards in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs were the sign that meant 'many' and thus came to symbolise wealth and prosperity. It should be remembered that the serpent is found depicted in several artistic styles also on stećaks. Late Period 713–332 B. Chevrons.◄ Two ancient Egyptian miniature bronze votives. ▼ Parallelebipedal stećaks.ORG © 2012 XIX .E. spirals and caterpillars are found in the same context. Bosnia and Herzegovina. exactly as examples of Eneolithic tablets and altars previously shown. incised lines on the border.C. decorated laterally with double-chevron motif. ▼ fallen stećak. (Cairo Museum) These two small ancient bronze coffins once contained the mummified remains of a sacred snake and lizard and were intended as votive offerings. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. The cobra headed goddess Wadjet was traditionally associated with lower Egypt and had many temples dedicated to her. ▲ Example of stećak decorated frontally with single and double spirals.
Ovcharovo cult scene) are evidence that these objects are in relation with ancient religious ceremonies. spirals. meanders. 2012. only few examples will be presented here. quadrangular and oval forms. Bulgaria. and Sultan tell. Interestingly. Bulgaria (Chernakov D. dots. Since an overall presentation of all artifacts would require and deserve much more space. Many of these objects have ornamental motifs such as vertical and horizontal fields.The aforementioned examples of clay tablets and altars from the sites of Gradeschnitsa and Ocharovo are not the only ones. ▼ Eneolithic ceramic tablets from Ruse tell. shows a basic form of recumbent stećaks. These tablets resemble very much examples of stećaks with rich.e. These votive objects and the fact that they have been discovered in the same area and context as other cultic artifacts (i. ▲ Eneolithic ceramic tablet from Kodjadermen tell. Kodjadermen tell. concentric circles as a central motif etc. In Bulgaria many other clay tablets were recovered from the Eneolithic layers of archaeological sites like Ruse tell. The formal typology of all objects include mainly tablets of pentagonal.ORG © 2012 XX . all these votive tablets and altars seem to represent a twodimensional mirror basic image of the much more sophisticated forms of the stećaks. p. 74). From a range of sources it can be suggested that the ornamental compositions on the ceramic tablets are in fact symbols related to the concept of fertility and most probably used in ancient rituals dedicated to the Mother Goddess. elaborate top decoration found almost everywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina (page XXI). BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. 72.
▲ Example of stećak with rich.that of rectangular or parallelepidal slabs. I will provide even more evidence that strongly supports the notion that the ancestral origin of stećaks lies in the borderless world of Old Europe. chests or coffins. tablets and altars of parallelepipedal and pentagonal form found in Old European culture resemble very much the most common recumbent forms of stećaks: . Olovo region. which are protoswastika symbols. In the same context. artistic and religious elements has clearly shown that prehistoric votive objects in the form of miniature models of structures. used to mark sacred sites and objects of high religious and cultural significance. Throughout many ancient cultures the pentagon is considered a symbol of divine order. Bosnia and Herzegovina. and gabled monoliths in the shape of elongated pentagons.ORG © 2012 XXI . The evidence presented so far based on observations of architectural. Votive objects of Old European culture and monolithic stećak stones found in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the neighbouring countries are often decorated with layered chevron and spiraling key patterns. and has been associated with a single or double spiral and with infinity. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. elaborate top decoration. In this particular example the rosette represents an elaborate evolution of the most simple form of proto-swastika and spiral symbolism.
sea. and haunting personification of death.C. which shows the sun rising above the mountain horizon. The symbolism of the horizon. whose visions of mysticism were embedded in stone. 2012) Before the Mesopotamian empire. The horizon of a civilization. and is represented by a stylized snake.200 B. became an important one in ancient Egypt. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. with which it longs to connect.ORG © 2012 XXII . In the vision of ancient people this symbol represents the horizon from which the sun emerged and disappeared.E. The horizon thus embodied the idea of sunrise and sunset. with the sun rising or setting. and other aspects of the natural world.Old Europe: The First Horizon ▲ Ceramic altar. are likely culled directly from the Old European ancestral spirit. (Chernakov D. Gumelniţa. The idea of a sun-god. The underworld is considered a place of renewal. The hieroglyphic sign for "horizon" (Akhet ) shows the two peaks of the mountain glyph with the solar disk appearing between them on the horizon from which the sun emerged or disappeared. moon. the civilization of Old Europe imbued with divinity the sun. sky. before the pharaohs of Egypt. Bulgaria 4. Karanovo VI. The sunset then becomes symbolic of death as the suns body passes into the realm of the dead or underworld. Kodjadermen. horizon. death and regeneration. The connection of the mountain symbol with the solar circle is seen in the closely related Egyptian glyph Akhet. the horizon as a boundary at the end of the world. becoming the symbolic place of birth. represents the far-off mystery of the natural world.
▼ However. The alignment of the mountain of the Sun to the east and the mountain of the Moon to the West as found in the Kapampangan myth referenced earlier is fairly closely represented at Teotihuacan. but also in other ancient cultures around the world.E. In this case. Both the Mayans and Aztecs had ideas of the Sun rising from the top of a pyramid. the latter located on the opposite side of the world.▲ Mid-summer sun setting between the pyramid of Khafre (left) and the Great Pyramid of Khufu (right). Meru has two peaks.C.ORG © 2012 XXIII . BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. The Southeast Asian temples are usually models of Mt. 2. Among the Aztecs the Sun of the fifth and present era in their calendar arose in such a way (Manansala 2006). the same cosmologial concept has not been preserved only in Old Europe and Egypt. In Mesoamerica. The silhouette of the two pyramids in shadow with the golden sun setting between them resembles the "Akhet" hieroglyph for "horizon".700 B. There the Pyramid of the Sun stands to the southeast of the Pyramid of the Moon. Meru. the sacred mountains are represented as two opposing triangles connected at their bases. Sumeru and Kumeru. which itself has the double mountain coded into a single symbol. approx.
BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. is further proved by stećak monuments embedded with the symbol for horizon. A better understanding of the men will be provided later by the elements (Fire. Bosnia and Herzegovina. the Ba. Earth). The pentagonal altar depicting the sun rising between two mountain peaks and descending into the underworld dominated by a stylized snake are the exclusive prerogative of societies steeped in pyramid culture. and a stećak in Rogatica. as well other prehistoric artifacts. but also between stećaks and. This hypothesis. The Old European and Bosnian concept of the "Soul" represented by the "Horizon" embedded into a "Pentagon" are a direct reflection of the Egyptian concept of the five parts of man. the Ren and Shwt. The pictures above are related to a stele in Biljeg. exactly as the monuments of Egypt. Water.ORG © 2012 XXIV . however. This shattering evidence establishes a direct link not only between Old European artifacts and the stećaks. it must be pointed out. the Akh. Both monolithic stones are characterized by the ornamental symbol for horizon. the Bosnian pyramid phenomenon.As previously explained the cosmologial concept for horizon is deeply rooted in millenia-old tradition of Old European culture. ▲ Two examples of stećaks: a stele and a recumbent monolithic stone in the shape of a pentagon decorated both with the Old European symbol for “Horizon”. Air. the Ka. sacred concept of the five parts of ancient Greek esoteric doctrine of the and the doctrine of transmigration. related to the human being as made up of five different elements.
The symbol of a double spiral with a single stem from which double volutes branch. and the earth rested on the back of a serpent floating in the primordial ocean.500 B. The heavens consisted of different layers stacked above the earth. also the symbol referable to the concept of a multi-layered universe has been embedded in stone by Old European culture. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. The gods and the souls of the dead traveled between these worlds along this imaginary Tree of Life. while its peak reach for the heavens. Linking the three realms was a giant pyramid whose base was anchored to the underworld. More examples are presented on the next page (Wenzel M.Beside the symbol for horizon. that the spirit of a pyramid culture is inseparably merged in the architectural layout of stećaks. 199).000 – 3.E. Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Tree of Life grew out of the Sacred Mound (The Pyramid).C.p. Karanovo IV. we find the same symbol in dozen examples and various artistic expressions embedded on stećaks. it is worthy to say. ► Example of a stećak from Brajinci. Kodjadermen. between 7. Gumelniţa. is also the most common spiral motif found on stećaks (Wenzel M. ◄ Late Chalcolithic pectoral (amulet). Like in other pyramid cultures the people of Old Europe pictured a universe consisting of heavens above and underworlds below.Ukrasni motivi na stećcima . The pectoral displays a pyramid whose base is rooted deep in the river of souls. with the human world interposed between. while its peak stretched to the heavens. – Ukrasni motivi na stećcima . called by the Mayas Ceiba and by the Egyptians Tamarisk.ORG © 2012 XXV . (The Rousse Regional Museum of History) This artifact as many other of such kind has been recovered only recently from unclassified piles of a museum.p. This example represents the final proof that the origin of pagan symbols encountered on the stećak monuments has originated in the millennia-old tradition of Old Europe and. Šekovići. Bulgaria. . 178 ~ 199). Since there is no two without three.
ORG © 2012 XXVI . ▲ Tisza culture. ► The truncated pyramid situated at the top of the pillar and examples of votive pyramids given in this page have the same shape and are associated with a chevron pattern (the symbol of water). Serbia. the stećak phenomenon.E. Kökénydomb. It means that all two-dimensional as well three-dimensional representations of triangles/pyramids associated with a zigzag pattern represent the same spiritual concept. Hódmezövásárhely. and the pyramids.▲ Example of a pillar crowned with a truncated pyramid.C. votive pyramid from Visoko. I think I may have arrived at a point where no further evidence is needed to prove a common ancestral origin and inseparable link between Old European sanctuaries. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. 5th millennium B. southeastern Hungary.
Wenzel. A question arises spontaneously: How is it possible that the most representative symbol of both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches involves such a small number of stećaks? Moreover. four hundred thirty-eight stećaks and some two hundred examples of stećaks where crosses form a minor element. can be taken the attitude to classify stećaks as tombstones. However. the Ankh ( ).p. Bulgaria and Macedonia. and in the absence of other reliable historical sources. together with cross-shaped stones and engraved inscriptions dating to the mediaeval period. 92. and a simple cross with a single ring at the top known as the ancient Egyptian symbol of "Life". the proposed theory often lacks basic evidence of a developmental sequence through which scientific ideas pass on their way to final acceptance. – Ukrasni motivi na stećcima . while of five thousand only four hundred dirty-eight to date have been recorded upon which crosses potentially amenable to the various churches form the major element (Wenzel M.ORG © 2012 XXVII . a religious monument of the Churches of the Middle Ages. based on the assumption that they bear a marked symbolism characteristic of mediaeval art. As an introductory example of flawed scientific reasoning.The Myth of the Mediaeval Tombstone The simplistic conclusion that a stećak was designed exclusively during the mediaeval period to stand over graves as a religious monument (tombstone). only five thousand of seventy thousand registered stećkas bear carved decorations.Ukrasni motivi na stećcima . Lovrenović). has become over the past decades mainly a matter of philosophical and political speculation more than a result of scientific methodology. some historians felt forced to ascribe the authorship of the stećaks to the Bogomil (or Bogumil) doctrine. 91). since stećaks are not found where this doctrine originated and was mainly preached. Faced with such contradictory evidence. . namely. Although examples of the Ankh can be found all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. swastikas. there is only one example of a roughly datable stećak bearing the Ankh (Wenzel M. beside radically opposed opinions among the most notorious scholars (Bešlagić. do not even constitute twenty percent of ornamental motifs on stećaks bearing decorations. also this hypothesis can be easily disproved. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. rather than providing more plausible answers on the origins of a complex and unique archaeological phenomenon. Last but not least. it must be emphasized that many of the cross-variants appearing on the stećaks are antropomorphized forms of crosses. Like any other popular scientific myth.p. 93). Curiously.
or palm.The Bogomils: A Study in Balkan Neo-Manichaeism . Beside a special arrangement of the forearms and the hands of the deceased.p.ORG © 2012 XXVIII . few examples exist. archaeologists encountered a complete lack of funerary inventory. However. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. There are indeed some examples of stećaks bearing the decoration of an isolated hand. referred to as the Hand of God. and the sacraments and ceremonies performed by the priests.▲ The Bogomil migration through Europe. They also rejected the dominant Eastern Christian church and its hierarchy. principally the Cross.At Europe's borders: medieval towns in the Romanian principalities – p. and orant figures. Sources related to Bogomil funerary practice are rare. . Archaeological excavations in Bulgaria and Romania revealed modest graves dating to the 15 th century. Only in Bosnia is found a high concentration of stećaks. and they condemned the use of icons as well the veneration of relics. Additionally it must be pointed out that the social-religious program of the Bogomils included the condemnation of wealth and the rejection of feudal exploitation and state authority. Bogumils remained distant from all religious preachers. including clothing. Likewise they spurned all the material objects used by the Orthodox as vehicles for Grace and supports for prayer. temples. 221). the saints. while the grave was marked by a stele decorated with the palm of a hand (Laurențiu Rădvan . 130). as well as arms holding a sceptre or other objects. indifferent to secular affairs (Obolensky D.
Arms bent at the elbow.However. as well as orant figures with upturned arms found in Bosnia can be all associated with the idea of the soul and its regeneration. the Egyptian God of Earth. A description of the iconography of Geb occurs in Pyramid Text where we read that he holds "one arm to the sky and the other to the earth". One of the oldest staffs discovered in Egypt was recovered from a pre-dynastic grave in El Omari. and father of Osiris. not just the pharaoh. or holding a sceptre. The words "nobleman" and "official" both included the hieroglyph of a staff. "ka". Most probably these symbols were used to refer to that aspect of men and gods that is connected with the creative life force. divinities or the concept of soul and regeneration. his soul continued to exist (and thus also the person. or in Egyptian religion where hands or arms were often associated with rulers. ▲ Example of stećak with arm bent at the elbow. because the body was only the visible expression of the power of the soul) and continued to need to be fed. and the aspect that differentiates a living person from a dead one. is often shown reclining on his side with an arm bent at the elbow. and arm hoding the Aba sceptre.ORG © 2012 XXIX . Bakići. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. Olovo Region. so at an early stage the staff seems to have represented the authority of any person with significant power. Geb. antique paralles to arm symbolism is more likely found in principles deeply rooted in Hindu thought referable to Vedic faith tradtions (The Trimurti). a neolithic site near Cairo. After someone died. ▲ Figures (from left to right): Egyptian hieroglyphic signs for "arm". In ancient Egypt the sceptre or staff is one of the most ancient symbols of authority. Bosnia.
Examples of Neolithic sanctuary models with a hole on top for votive offerings are not uncommon. The conclusion that can be drawn is that the modest funerary practice of the Bogomils is in contradiction with the mastodontic production of thousands of stone monuments weighing tons and rich of the iconography that characterizes stećak monuments. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Visoko.Such spiritual practice had originated in Old European culture as well.ORG © 2012 XXX . ▼ Neolithic votive temple with a hole at the top for votive offerings. Summarizing everything aformentioned. 6th millennium B. it becomes clear that the widely accepted hypothesis related to stećaks as an exclusive prerogative of the Middle Ages remains rather unconvincing and should therefore be subjected to revision. The same feature in the form of a large round niche can be found on top of different types of ste ćaks. Porodin. where the soul of the deceased was supplied with food through food offerings. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. It means that stećaks can also be considered as an altar to feed the soul of the dead with both food offerings as sacred symbols. Radovlje.E.C. ▼ Example of stećak with large round votive niche at the top.
however. ▲ Examples of stećaks discovered during the construction work for a modern villa in Ginje. implies another possibility to link and assign the authorship of stećak phenomenon to a far older culture. examples of stećaks without human skeletal remains such as skulls. Another problem that clearly emerged is related to human remains usually associated with these monuments. More than twelve truck loads of these stones have been carried away while removing large portions of a nearby hill. surpass largely those where such remains are found. Examples of parallelbipedal ste ćaks are seen on the left. It means that the vast majority of these monoliths have not been thought to stand as a religious monument upon a grave (tombstone). BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. This hypothesis. An explicit example of such evidence is presented hereafter. Similar analogies have often been encountered also in the study of early stages of Old European societies. is not the first time that archaeologists and researchers of the stećak phenomenon are faced with such evidence. while on the right side can be seen a recumbent stećak reposed on a stereobate. where such evidence spurred some of the most puzzling problems in the study of prehistoric cults related to the veneration of the ancestors. Visoko. About thirthy stećaks were kept by the landowner and afterwards buried in the backyard of the villa. Bosnia and Herzegovina. in most other cases evidence suggests clearly the contrary. however. According to my personal experience and evidences that emerged during field research inside the Visoko valley. Of over a hundred of stećaks carried away only one resulted to be placed upon the skeletal remains of a human.ORG © 2012 XXXI . Kralupi Valley. tigh-bones etc. Although archaeological evidence has shown that a relevant number of stećaks have been placed indeed upon graves during the mediaeval period. The above shown examples of stećaks were discovered during construction work for a modern villa in Ginje. together with oral testimony of farmers who often move these monuments for agricultural purposes.Contradictory evidence against the hypothesis of a mediaeval origin of stećaks does not end here. This. together with all others aforementioned.
In other words. Women and children were found to be buried beneath the floor of the house. western Ukraine. indicating some other funerary practice was performed. human remains and collective cemeteries were unknown in the context of Butmir-sites. as opposed to accidental burnings or hostile acts of war.C. However. The conclusion of archaeologists involved in the experiment was unanimous: the kind of intense burning seen in many Neolithic archaeological sites could only be produced intentionally. Cucuteni-Trypolie.C.E. An identical phenomenon was encountered by archaeologist in the context of the Butmir culture. Anthony.500-4. but it may be presumed that homes of important people were burned after their death. PreCucuteni. (D.p. Vinča etc. as well as inhumation.The Purifying Fire of Old Europe One of the most puzzling traditions of Chalcolithic Old Europe apparently was the intentional burning of houses after a period of use as a dwelling. Statistical analysis of artifacts belonging to different cultures (Gumelniţa. The Linear Pottery culture. Research has shown that the majority of houses set on fire were fully equipped with artifacts of daily life. practised cremation. is a relatively new area of research in Old European archaeology. or Cucuteni-Trypolie culture. in present-day Hungary. Cemeteries with over a hundred cremation graves are known from sites of the Gorodsk culture.) demonstrates that most of the burned structures contained a large number of ceramic vessels and other objects. there appears to have been a distinction made in this culture on where the bodies were interred. Petreşti. based on gender and social dominance. Except for several burials of children in Obre II (Benac 1973a. The discovery of cremated human bones in the debris of intentionally burned dwellings suggests furthermore that cremation might have been employed by several Old European cultures.E. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. while men were missing.500 B. The hypothesis of house burning in Old Europe was confirmed by the experimental construction and intentional burning carried out by archaeologists at various sites under controlled conditions. dating to about 3. 99) No cemeteries are known for the Petreşti culture of Transylvania. J. 72–82). Chi . the Pre-Cucuteni culture.000 B. especially of children and adolescents. which existed from 5.W. Archaeologists are not sure why some houses were burned. the house was sacrificed to the fire with its entire inventory of equipment. and must have been performed “as purifying rituals”. The archaeological evidence of house burning.ORG © 2012 XXXII . In a few settlements isolated inhumation graves have been found. In ancient times to set a house on fire was probably perceived as a form of purification.The Lost World of Old Europe .
or “The Fire in the Middle” (from Greek pyramidos). Among other qualities the first four numbers (1. the explanation for an objects existence could only be found in numbers themselves. left). votive objects bearing the symbols for horizon and soul. the Pythagoreans developed other concepts of "fourness" in nature such as the material elements of Fire. Interestingly.The most plausible hypothesis that provides a possible explanation for the absence of burials and skeletal remains in both early Old European cultures and many ste ćak monuments remains that related to the purification of the deceased through fire.ORG © 2012 XXXIII . In addition to the visible earth. To the Pythagoreans the holiest number of all was the number ten or the tetractys. the stećak phenomenon. moon and five planets. Since these were the only numbers that were needed to demonstrate all known objects geometrically. the concept of the purifying fire is in close relationship with the concept of the “The Central Fire”. the sum of all these objects or numbers is believed to represent the known Universe: 1+2+3+4=10 Since the tetractys was the symbol for the Universe. Since in their view everything was composed of numbers. 2. below). Air. 3. this time. the Pythagoreans believed that there had to be ten heavenly bodies. First of all. The Doctrine of Transmigration in Pythagorean Philosophy will allow us to establish a direct link between Old European purification rituals using fire. sun. it will be explained from the Pythagorean point of view related to the four elements (Fire. Water. it should be pointed out that the Pythagorean view of the universe rested squarely on the belief that counting numbers were the key to the various qualities of mankind and matter. This initial attempt at explaining cosmology in terms of mathematical principles is the foundation of our present models for the Universe. Air. This analysis will bring us shortly back to the Egyptian concepts of five parts of men previously discussed but. and 4) had a special significance in that their sum accounted for all the possible dimensions. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. Water and Earth (Fig. a triangular figure consisting of ten points arranged in four rows (Fig. Earth). and the pyramids. they added a central fire and a "counter-earth" on the opposite side of the central fire. This hypothesis can be supported by archaeological evidence as well as a widespread esoteric symbolism found on ste ćak monuments closely related to the concept of the “Purifying Fire”. In addition to the tetractys.
In Physics. which are spiritual archetypes. According to the Pythagoreans. Water. one must die in order to be reborn. Thus heroization occurs through an actual or symbolic death by Fire. Fire corresponds to energy. which inclusion of the ascent to the Spirit: Earth-Water-Air-Fire-Spirit by a anticlockwise circuit. and we can make it a cycle anticlockwise by returning from Fire to Earth across the horizontal line of the pentagon. the belief that the soul of the deceased goes first to the nearest Fire.It should be observed with particular attention that the pentagon embodies the physical order of the elements. before the soul can ascend through the spheres. which suggests that the soul must ascend through the Planetary Spheres before it can reach the Afterlife. whereas the other three Elements (Air. Moon. and finally to Heavenly Light. This is because Fire is the purifiying element. One must descend into Darkness to find the source of Light. Fire is considered the primary agent of change. it must be purified by Fire. In Pythagorean esoteric doctrine. However. and from there to the stars. Sun. as in the most ancient Vedic tradition. that these are just physical manifestations of the Four Elements.ORG © 2012 XXXIV . thereby freeing the soul and immortalizing it. Earth) correspond to states of matter. Likewise. If we stay on the mundane level we have Fire-Air-Water-Earth. We must keep in mind. however. This path is mimicked in the symbolic death of initiation. the pentagon includes the extension of the physical order. it was believed that the fire conveys the deceased to the heavenly realm. Based on this idea it can be suggested that in Old Europe. it burns away the transient and imperfect. among all other elements. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. ante-dates even the Zoroastrian tradition.
By descent through the Crater of Rebirth. Olovo. as well as on stećak monuments in various and countless artistic expressions. – Ukrasni motivi na stećcima – p. Bakići. D. Indeed. sometimes referred to as “ Kundalini rising within”. The passage through Fire is a means of uniting with the universe. 195). Earth. rising towards the apex of a two-dimensional representation of the pyramid. which gives simultaneous access to the Heavens and the Underworld. the Enveloping Fire (the Kundalini energy depicted on stećaks in the form of spirals) is balanced by a Central Fire (the stalk . BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. Thus Fire is the highest and the lowest Element. and supported bt the “Kundalini swirling within”. a giant stalk. Fire rises to the heavens. There in the womb of the Old European Mother Goddess the soul of the deceased may be purified by Fire in preparation for rebirth. which again recalls the Promethean Fire brought to humanity in a Narthêx. which is a Cosmic Fire according to Heraclitus. it is the symbol found on Old European artefacts. where it becomes the essence of the stars. the initiate arrives at Axis Mundi [World Axis.Narthêx). or Axis Munde (lit.ORG © 2012 XXXV . Axis of the Mound)]. Also. ▲ Example of stećak depicting the Promethean Narthêx. Empedocles says that many fires burn beneath the Earth. that the Solar Fire was born in the bowels of the Earth. The World Axis is known from Egyptian and Mayan sacred texts as the trunk of the “Tree of Life”. as already demonstrated in this paper. it is as though the Elemental Square has been unfolded into a line. This results in a series of cosmic spheres: Celestial Fire. Air. Water. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Wenzel M. Lithuanian archaeologist Marija Gimbutas explained that Old European fire celebrations were symbolic of the female sexual fire. According to the Pythagoreans. and that Volcanic Fire shoots to the Heavens and licks the stars. and Central Fire.
This astonishing scientific evidence represents one of the great wonders born from the project of the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids. the Subterranean Sun and the Volcanic Sun. the Solar Fire shoots to the Heavens and licks the stars. and there is a paradoxical unity between the Sun and the Underworld (as encountered in Old European artifacts as well stećak monuments). “And so. Phulakê Diós). suggesting indeed that the Pythagorean Doctrine of Transmigration. “ where it becomes the essence of the stars”.ORG © 2012 XXXVI . Bosnia and Herzegovina (with the famous artistic representation of the beam of light reaching the sky). BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. Empedocles teaches that the ultimate source of all Fire is Hades. it shines in Tartaros.The Celestial Fire mirrors the Central Fire as though in a higher octave. According to myth. The astrological symbol for the Sun represents the Fire at the center. after the Sun sets. the mythical Underworld. the Invisible Sun. the Black Sun. which is below Hades (the Greek god of the Underworld).” Empedocles More precisely. and that the Central Fire is the source of all life. Zeus's Guard Tower (i. they surely would agree with me [emphasis added].e. also known as "The Fire in the Midlle" (from Greek pyramidos). Therefore the Central Fire is known as the Dark Sun. ◄ Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun. It becomes more than plausible to suggest that the Pythagorean Central Fire with its peculiarity of “invisibility” can be associated with the invisible and non-audible (ultrasound) energy beam of 28 kHz that shoots out of the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun towards the heavens. and those of other ancient cultures. If Empedocles and Heraclitus were alive. Visoko. may well be true. The Pyramid. creation and destruction. the Central Fire is Tartaros.
The ritual of cremation of these cultures may have been designed to do much more than dispose of the body. was believed to be most spiritually beneficial to the departed soul. Such hypothesis is basically supported by archaeological evidence dating to the early phase of some Old European cultures.Before coming to the conclusions of this study I would like to forward the hypothesis that the absence of skeletal remains in both early Old European cultures in many examples of stećaks can be ascribable to the custom of purifying the deceased through fire (cremation). remains in absence of more counter-evidence unfounded. with exception when people were burned at the stake. beside the presumption that ashes were gathered and left to the natural elements. Furthermore. is that in particular cases (i. an upper lotus parasol and crescent representing the element of Air. as well as religious symbolism in close relationship with the concept of the "Purifying Fire". and the Sun as dissolving point representing the element of Spirit (Beer R. may be explained by a similar phenomenon encountered in ancient Vedic traditions. Ginje. Such hypothesis can be further suggested in the case of artificial stećaks as those found in the locality Brdo. the process of cremation. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. the hypothesis which ascribes the authorship of stećaks to these Churches. Of course. the ancestral believe that fire conveys the deceased to heaven. compared to burial or outside disintegration. Kralupi Valley. Such rituals are known from Tibetan traditions. who are usually returned to the earth. a dome (or vase) representing the element Water. where human remains and collective cemeteries are unknown. 2008). where after the cremation process some of the ashes are preserved and mixed with earth and moulded in miniature stupas known as tsha-tsha [ 擦擦 (Kvaerne P. It could be that ashes were mixed into the concrete mass of artificial stećaks. Visoko (Pašic M. in the case of important people) the ashes were mixed with clay to make devotional images. isolated inhumation graves mainly belonging to children in the context of Butmirsites. In conclusion. it was intended to release the soul from its earthly existence (as explained by the Pythagorean Doctrine of Transmigration). such presumption must be further supported by archaeological evidence and laboratory analysis. it must be pointed out that Mediaeval Churches officially banned cremation. Probably. 2004). It must be underlined that the sacred architecture of Tibetan stupas integrates a square base representing the four cardinal sides of the element Earth. 1985)]. a conical spire representing Fire.e.ORG © 2012 XXXVII . Another hypothesis that can be forwarded. Therefore. The only bodies that are not generally burned are unnamed babies and the lowliest of castes.
their ancestral origin. The reuse of ancient monuments and building materials of earlier cultures is a common phenomenon observed in many places around the world. beside that of basing the Christian origins of stećaks on a symbolism which represents the minority of ornamental motifs. artistic and religious phenomenon of stećaks in a more familiar context by giving clear preference to Western European culture as the alleged place of origin. which included many humble preachers of the Bogomil faith. stećaks do not belong to the war mongering Churches of the Middle Ages. and the pyramids of Bosnia.ORG © 2012 XXXVIII . Although there are numerous proofs that stećaks were used as gravestones of Orthodox Christians and Catholics. religious art and ancient philosophical tradition has allowed to establish and expose a close relationship between millennia-old artefacts of the Old European continent. is that to discredit a variety of symbols and motifs of pagan origin as an anomaly or unclassifiable surplus of marginal significance. As a reference can be taken the reuse and repurposing of older monuments as building materials in Egyptian building projects. who burned people at the stake. the analysis performed through different contextual concepts has allowed to close the sacred loop and fill necessary gaps to rejoin all the aforementioned elements with their "True Spirit". It should be remembered that many stećaks were reused in recent times for the construction of contemporary buildings. and the pyramids of Bosnia. A further indication of an imposed classification made by the dogmatic scholarship. whilst waging crusades against their doctrines. Karnak temple offers many interesting examples of this practice. The claim that stećaks represent religious monuments (tombstones) amenable to a common and exclusive tradition amongst Catholic. Differently from what we've been told.Conclusions One of the main mistakes made by the representatives of the dogmatic stećak scholarship was that to prefer to identify and analyse the historical. and even some indications that a discrete number of stećaks was produced during the Middle Ages. Moreover. the ste ćak phenomenon. The archaeological evidence availabale today examined in the contexts of architecture. Many scholars have underestimated the millenia-old undying Spirit of Old European culture. BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. the importance of the stećak phenomenon. the reuse of many stećaks during the Middle Ages cannot be excluded a priori. Orthodox and “Bosnian Church” followers alike is strongly disproved by the millennia-old archaeological evidence presented in this paper.
which are merely the results of a socially divided world. but are the cultural and spiritual inheritance of the borderless.ORG © 2012 XXXIX . peaceful and egalitarian world of Old Europe. as Pythagoreans would paraphrase it: "It shoots to the Heavens and licks the stars". BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. the Light of Eternity of Old European culture shines through the veils of time more than ever before and. In this very moment.Stećaks are not and must not be considered the cultural property of politically-oriented academicians or media.
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1995 Ancient Philosophy. 13 Tibet Bon Religion Institute of of Religious Iconography State University Groningen – Leiden E. J. Mystery and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition Oxford University Press KVAERNE. Bosna i Hercergovina BOSNIAN-PYRAMID. Kralupi. 1999 The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements Biblioteca Arcana KINGSLEY. Brill BEER. M. 2010 At Europe's borders: Medieval towns in the Romanian principalities Koninklijke Brill NV. 2008 Arheološkis lokalitet "Brdo".OBOLENSKY.ORG © 2012 XLII . Chicago PAŠIĆ. P.K. P. Leiden Netherlands MANANSALA.J. R. P. Visoko University of Zenica. R. Inc. 2004 The Bogomils – A Study in Balkan Neo-Manichaeism Cambridge University Press LAURENŢIU. 1985 Iconography of Religions XII. 2004 The encyclopedia of Tibetan symbols and motifs Serindia Publications. D. 2006 Quest for the Dragon and Bird Clan Lulu Press OPSOPAUS.
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