Showing posts with label Honduras. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honduras. Show all posts

Excavation of Lost City Begins in Honduras

Last February a team of explorers and archaeologists traveled deep into the jungles of Honduras in search of a lost city. They had spotted what looked like the remains of ancient structures on satellite photos back in 2012, and after months of planning had finally set off to find what could be an important  archaeological site. They spent days in the dense rainforest, facing numerous challenges that include picking up a nasty local parasite that left their health in jeopardy. But at long last they found the site they were looking for, and their hard work seemed justified.

But exhausted, low on supplies, and in failing health, they were forced to retreat. The plan was to return with more supplies and better equipment to begin excavation of the site. They team of researchers kept the location of the ruins hidden, and the Honduran government dispatched a military detail to guard it day and night to ensure that it remained undisturbed until a proper archaeological dig could begin.

Last week the team of explorers who discovered the hidden city returned at long last, and the excavation is now underway. According to National Geographic, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was on hand this past Tuesday to remove the first stone sculpture from its ancient resting place, even as other archaeologists uncovered other artifacts all around him.

According to Nat Geo, the ancient relic that Hernández uncovered is an impressive piece. It is described as a jar that has been carved out of basalt, and painted ornamentally. The sides of the container show two animals, one of which is believed to be a vulture that is commonly seen in the area. The artifact is one of 52 that were originally found at the foot of an earthen pyramid that is just one small part of a larger city that mostly remains covered by the dense jungle.

The lost city, which is in the Valley of the Jaguars in Honduras, is believed to be between 500 and 800 years old, but who built it remains a mystery. The fact that it is in such a remote area, far from almost any other signs of human habitation, is also interesting. The archeologists hope to learn more about the civilization that lived there as they uncover the artifacts that they left behind.

Using the same satellite imagery that was used to locate this site, the research team believes it has found a second, even larger city nearby. No one has visited that location yet however, although a preliminary scouting mission is expected to take place next week. That place could hold even more clues about this mysterious civilization that was living in this remote region of Honduras.

These stories continue to fascinate me. I personally can't wait to hear more about what these archeologists find in the jungle. I also can't help but wonder what else is out there, just waiting for us to find it. Are there sites as impressive as Machu Picchu or Chichen Itza that have yet to be identified? I'd like to think there are, and that they hold important clues about the people that inhabited the Americas hundreds of years ago.

This story is also a good reminder of why exploration is still important, even in the 21st century.

Lost City Discovered in Honduras

A team of researchers and archaeologists emerged from the rainforests of Honduras last week bearing amazing news. The group has discovered an ancient lost city that belonged to a civilization that thrived a thousand years ago, then suddenly vanished altogether. The city is believed to be the legendary "White City" or the "City of the Monkey God," which is only referred to in old tales. In fact the civilization lived in parallel with the Maya for a time, but so little is known about them that the people don't even have an official name.

Apparently the city was completely abandoned by the people that inhabited it centuries ago. As a result, archaeologists now get a peek at what day-to-day life was like there. Although the structures are mostly covered in overgrowth and sediment, there were reportedly as many as 52 artifacts that were visible upon first survey. Those included statues, monuments, ceremonial seats, and other finely crated items.

The exact location of the site has not been revealed so as to protect it from looters, but we do know that it is in a remote area of the rainforest in a valley known as La Mosquitia. The region is dominated by swamps, rivers, and mountains, making it very difficult to pass through. The explorers who discovered it documented their findings, but mostly left it undisturbed until they can return with a proper team to begin further excavation.

The White City or Ciudad Blanca has been the stuff of legends for centuries. The indigenous people who live in the area have told tales of large white structures that stuck out of the rainforest for ages. It was believed that the city served as a place of refuge from invading Spanish conquistadors, and some of say that there is a large monkey statue hidden somewhere inside the city. A number of explorers have gone in search of the place in the past, including American explorer Theodore Morde, who claimed to have discovered the city back in 1940, although he committed suicide before he could confirm the location.

The outline of the city was first discovered back in 2012 by an arial laser-mapping system. The site was believed to be over a mile in length, and contained elements consistent with manmade structures hidden under the jungle. It has taken until now for a team to actually go and visit the place however and confirm the existence of the lost city.

There is no word yet on when another team of archaeologists will return to the White City, but with this amazing discovery, you can bet it won't be too long before actual excavation operations will begin.