Archaeologists Begin Excavations Of Honduran ‘Lost City’ Belonging To Previously Unknown Civilization

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Nearly a year after an archaeological mission discovered the remains of numerous artifacts and structures in the Honduran Jungle, a second expedition has started that will reveal the identity behind the lost civilization that erected the mysterious city.

For a century, explorers in the Americas spoke of a legendary “White City” or “City of the Monkey God”. According to local legends, in that city, natives from the region took refuge when the Spanish conquistadores arrived at the Americas.

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Even though the idea of a legendary “White City” or “City of the Monkey God” still remains a legend, efforts in getting to the bottom of what could be one of the greatest discoveries in Honduran History were kick-started by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who paid a visit to the site where archaeologist found earthen pyramids, plazas, and a cache of stone artifacts. First archaeological estimates place the settlement to date somewhere between the 10th and 14th centuries. The discovery itself is amazing as researchers do not even have a name for this long lost ancient Mesoamerican civilization.

The name “City of the Monkey God” originates from Theodore More, an explorer who claims to have discovered the ruins of the mysterious city in the 1940’s. Morde never disclosed the location of the ancient city over fears it would be looted and destroyed.

Last March, archaeologists announced the finding of not only a lost city but what could be a previously unknown civilization in the Americas. Last year, researchers were lucky to discover several well-preserved items, among them, an effigy of a “were-jaguar,” a head depicting a mysterious being, half man, half jaguar, including a dozen of buried figures. The artifacts and structures were left in the protection of the military until the second expedition was mounted in order to adequately study the incredible discovery.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez said:

“The rest of the world is talking about us and the White City in tourism terms and we want to put that in the context of the new infrastructure we are building – highways, airports, ports. We need to be ready to take advantage of this great opportunity.”

Mark Plotkin, the ethnobotanist for the expedition, said: “This is clearly the most undisturbed rain forest in Central America. The importance of this place can’t be overestimated.” The mystery civilization that lived at the White City is still unknown. It is hoped the latest expedition will shed further light on what lies beneath the ground.


3D digital topological map in Honduras shows a man-made plaza ringed in red. Credit: The University of Houston and National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping

According to reports, the archaeological team, led by Christopher Fisher of Colorado State University, and supported by the Honduran government and a grant from the National Geographic Society, will spend a month recovering and cataloging the artifacts and structures of the mysterious city.

“We’re hoping to find out what culture was here,” says Virgilio Paredes, Director of the Honduran Institute for Anthropology and History, who is accompanying President Hernandez to the site.

After the first thirty days of research, the group of researchers will develop a strategic plan that will allow them to mount a wider search of the area.

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